Thursday, January 14, 2010

WMU Wrapup, 10 Things to Know About Alaska

Hey! We swept a series, and I went another week without writing.

From the sound of it, the game at Lawson was the type of game that we've lost this year: Outshoot the hell out of the opponent, give up a bad goal or two (another goal from behind the net?), but this time we actually put the puck in the net.

The best part? Thank my lucky stars, we scored four--four--power play goals....ah ah ah. We've actually scored a PPG in 11 of the last 12 games. That stat kind of shocks me. Those are the types of things you don't realize when you never get to catch a game anymore....

Where the hell did Lindsey Sparks come from? Kid has 3-2--5 in the last three games, and is seeing some power play time. The downside to that? His 3-3--6 in 10 games this year puts him tied with Lynch in points and ahead of Treais. Lynch actually has five points in his last three games as well, after having just one point the rest of the season.

Another guy who has been coming on as of late: Lee Moffie. He's been in the lineup six straight games and has 4 points.

No one is hotter, though, than Carl Hagelin. He has points in four straight games and 11 of the last 12 contests. Over the past four games he has a 3-6--9 line.

The wins over Western Michigan vaulted Michigan up to 7th in the CCHA standings. If they were to win both of their games in hand on OSU, LSSU, Alaska, and FYS, believe it or not, they'd be in a 4th-place tie, six points back of the Spartans for third. There's still a long way to go to get back into the race for a first-round bye (let alone the race to make the NCAAs) but at least we're breathing.

The next three weeks provide a great opportunity to make a move. Michigan will take on fourth-place Alaska, first-place Ferris State, and third-place Michigan State back-to-back-to-back. Put together a good stretch and that not only helps in the CCHA, but it helps the ole tournament resume. I still don't think we're making the tournament, but the opportunity is there to get back in the mix.

Alaska is up first. They come into Yost for a pair of games. Friday night's game will air on FSN+, which is 448 on Dish Network and 664 on DirecTV. Fox Sports Arizona is also televising the game, making them more useful than the Big Ten Network. Saturday's game is on Comcast 900.

1) After a 5-0-1 start, Alaska is 10-6-4 on the year (7-6-3-3 in the CCHA). They've won just two of their last eight, and haven't swept a series since they beat Ferris State twice over Halloween. Over that time, they've lost to BGSU, LSSU, Notre Dame, UNO twice and Western, along with tying 10th-place NMU twice. They appear to be as good at losing to bad teams as we are!

2) The teams have met once this year, in the season opener. Alaska won the game 2-0, despite almost being doubled-up in shots.

3) Freshman Andy Taranto leads the way with a 9-15--24 line in 20 games. He ranks second in the nation in points per game by a freshman. Dion Knelsen has 10 goals to lead the team.

4) Goalie Scott Greenham has played every minute for the Nanooks, putting up a 2.31/.914. He's not nearly as hot as he was early on in the season. He gave up 2+ goals just one time in the first eight games of the year. In the last 12 games, he's given up two or fewer just four times--though two of those were in his last two appearances, where he made 75 saves.

5) Greenham ranks 19th in the country in goals against, one spot ahead of our own Bryan Hogan. He's 23rd in save percentage.

6) The Nanook offense is 34th in the country in goals per game (2.90). They have the #11 defense in the country, however. The Wolverines are 23rd and 9th, respectively.

7) This really shocks me: Alaska is the least penalized team in the country, at just 8.6 minutes per game. There is a 2 PIM/game spread from 10th to 25th (16.6 to 14.6), 25th to 43rd (14.6 to 12.6), 43rd to 57th (12.6 to 10.6), and 57th to 58th (10.6 to Alaska's 8.6). Somewhere Packer fans are screaming about a Nanook conspiracy.

8) For a team that doesn't have much of an offense, their power play is quite good. The Nanooks rank 14th in the country in power play percentage at 21.6%. They've scored 22 of their 58 goals with the man advantage. They're 19th in PK at 83.8%. They have not scored a short-handed goal, and they have not given up a short-handed goal. For as big of a disaster as our power play was at the start of the year, Michigan is up to #22 nationally. 20.2% really isn't all that bad.

9) It probably speaks to the usual quality of the UA goaltending, but the Wolverines don't really have any players that have torn up Alaska in their careers. Louie Caporusso leads with a 2-3--5 line in six games. Wohlberg is the only other player with multiple goals. Hogan is 2-1-0 with a 1.67/.922. He has never faced the Nanooks in Ann Arbor.

10) The Nanooks have never beaten Michigan in back-to-back games, and have never won twice in a three-game span in the series. Keep in mind that they won the most recent meeting. Only one of the last 22 meetings has been decided by a single goal. Only five of the 45 games in the history of the series have been decided by one goal. Michigan has won all five of those games. The teams have never tied and have never gone into overtime.


Anonymous said...

It's great to see the freshman starting to contribute, they'll be needed if we expect to make a run this second half. I really thinks this team is very capable of making the NCAA tournament. Once there, anything goes.

streaker said...

Speaking of freshmen, where has Chris Brown disappeared to? he hasn't been on the scoresheet much since being moved to the second line (and Lynch being moved up.) No coincidence in their fortunes there.

One other thing about Alaska- they are plenty young. Only 4 srs and 5 jrs. Only one sr is impacting their offense.

Anonymous said...

For right now i really like our lines. We've got a number of lines that are capable of contributing and hey are (and not always on the scoresheet).

Anonymous said...

Our team sucks. We blowout Alaska 6-0 last night and then lay an egg tonight, barely getting a point scoring with under 3 minutes to play...and then losing the shootout. That is unacceptable. We had to win that game. We have to win every game the rest of January and February. We need a 10 game win-streak to increase our terrible RPI and get back into the NCAA picture. Unless we get it going, we are staying home for the first time in 19 years. Where is the sense of desperation? Are we just going to continue to leave opportunities out there and rely on winning the CCHA tournament to qualify? WTF??? This team needs a major ass-kicking by Red. We have less firepower this year and average-to-bad goaltending. We need to outwork and outhustle everyone....and we're not doing it. Time is running out...

Anonymous said...

Our RPI and PWR aren't terrible, they're both 19. Neither is good, but they're both far from terrible. We don't need a 10 game win streak to sneak into the tournament. I didn't think they team looked anywhere near terrible tonight. I don't think they didn't look desperate, when your captain plays >4 minutes of OT, I would say that's pretty desperate. We got unfortunate with some calls and their goalie bounced back from a less-than-awesome night to have a good night. We've also never been in a shootout before, EVER, while Alaska has.

Most importantly, I would rather lose every game in January and February and then win them all in March and April than the other way around.

More negativity please, it's helping everything.


Anonymous said...

Spoke too soon, we're 19th in the RPI, we're in a three way tie for 17th in the PWR.