2) If you look at their schedule though, they really haven't played too many great teams. They lost to Denver and got swept by Miami. They beat BC, which was a nice win, but here are the CCHA teams they've played during this streak: LSSU four times, BGSU four times, Western twice, Ferris twice, Alaska twice (in South Bend). Duluth, Union, and Providence were their other games. Pretty much the opposite of the Pittsburgh Steelers' schedule this year. Need more proof? They've played the 24th rated schedule in the country according to the current RPI rankings. Michigan is #8. Only Ohio State, Cornell, and Princeton have played worse schedules amongst the teams in the top 15 in RPI.
3) The key to their success? They really don't give up that many goals. They've given up more than three just one time the entire season, and that was in the season opener (a 5-2 loss at Denver). They've only given up 3 goals on five occasions. They've held an opponent to 0 or 1 goals on fourteen occasions.
4) Their leading goal scorer is the surprising Christan Hanson, who has 14-12--26 in 25 games. He had just 20 goals and 33 points in the three seasons prior to this one. Calle Ridderwall, the sophomore who put the dagger in the hearts of Michigan fans in overtime last year, has 10 goals, eight of which have come with the man advantage (He's 5th in the country in PPGs). Erik Condra and Kevin De-De-Deeth have cracked the twenty point mark as well. Ryan Thoia-Thang (when did I turn into Chris Berman?) has been a little quiet. He has just 8-6--14 after going for 41 and 32 points the last two seasons. Nine guys have 5+ goals.
5) Amongst their defensemen, Brian Blatchford, Ian Cole, and Kyle Lawson have combined for 5 goals and 38 assists. Teddy Ruth doesn't provide much in the way of offense, but he's rock solid back there. And in net it's been Jordan Pearce for the most part. He's 18-3-3 with a 1.56 goals against and a very impressive .936 save percentage. He's 5th nationally in goals against and 7th in save percentage.
6) They're 12th nationally in offense (3.44) and 3rd defensively (1.56 goals per game). They're #2 in scoring margin, behind Air Force, who doesn't actually count.
7) They're a pretty disciplined team as well, 36th in most penalty minutes at just 15.4 a night (4.4 fewer than Michigan). And the special teams? They're pretty darn good too. #4 in PP at 21.8%. Their 34 goals with the man advantage trails only North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth. They're sixth on the PK, killing off 89.7% of their opponents' power plays. They've also scored six shorthanded goals on the season. Only Air Force, Army, RIT, and BGSU have more (Who would've bet on those four?).
8) Michigan leads the all-time series 66-43-5, but Notre Dame (as everyone remembers) won the most recent meeting, beating Michigan 5-4 in overtime in the national semifinals. We're just a tick over .500 in South Bend, and are 37-20-3 at Yost.
9) Travis Turnbull actually leads all Wolverines in career points against ND with a 3-5--8 line in 8 games against the Fighting Irish. Aaron Palushaj has 5 points in 3 games (all assists). Matt Rust had 3 goals and four points against ND last year. Hagelin is also a point per game player against them. In net, Billy Sauer is 3-3-0 with a 3.19/.894, and I just threw up in my mouth a little. Bryan Hogan has a 2.62/.900 in the 2+ periods he's played against them.
10) Erik Condra has done really well against Michigan in his career, with a 3-6--9 line in seven games. Regan, Deeth, Blatchford, and Thang all have 5+ points against the Wolverines. And Ridderwall had 3 points in 3 games last year. Pearce is just 1-2-0 with a 3.15/.890 against us.
Tomorrow's game will air on CBS College Sports at 8:05 Eastern. Saturday's game is on FSN Detroit at 7:35. So, woo hoo, I actually get to watch on a TV!
A couple other quick things:
-The preliminary hearings in the Mike Milano trial started today. Steve Kampfer testified for over an hour. That kid has had an eventful week. While the testimony doesn't paint either kid in a very good light, I have to say that I've never understood the "He's been attacked twice this year. Clearly he needs to keep his mouth shut" type comments that I've heard several times (not just from Sparties) since the incident took place. I really don't believe that what Conboy and Tropp did had anything to do with Kampfer or his personality (which I don't know anything about). He drilled Tropp, they were getting beat yet again by Michigan, and they both flipped out. I'd buy into it more if he had gotten powerbombed at a bar twice in a year. But on the scorecard you've got one fight outside a bar and one on-ice incident because a couple of knuckleheads snapped.
-Corey Tropp gave an interview to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader about his take on the incident last weekend. Here's what he says he remembers about the slash:
CT: Well I was skating through center-ice ... I thought I got kneed, but you know, people have been saying it was a clean hit. I guess I just wasn’t too happy with the hit. (Andrew) Conboy came up and kind of suckered him from the side, and I really didn’t realize Conboy was going to sucker him.
I was going go over and give him a little push myself. It was kind of one of those things where I didn’t even realize he was injured on the ice when I did it. After that I felt pretty bad. I still feel pretty bad about the whole situation.
There's some interesting stuff in that interview. I've said my piece. No need to comment further, but the response above kind of deserve a "Uhhhhhh...."