Friday, October 29, 2010

10 Things to Know About Ferris

Just realized that I never got around to writing up a weekend wrapup for the UNO series. Yet again, couldn't watch the games--they weren't on because of technical difficulties.

Something about 4-0 leads this year. This time we got down 4-0, got the steady stream of power plays to try to get us back into the game. Finally capitalized (even strength) a couple times within a minute to bring us back to 4-2, but they couldn't get that third goal in to make things really interesting, though it sounds like they came extremely close on several occasions. Lynch and Wohlberg had the goals, sounded like there were a couple that Hunwick might like to have back, and there may have been some lapses in our own end, though the defense kept the shots down pretty well. Holding UNO to 26 is pretty good. Without looking it up, I think that was a season low.

The next night it was the reverse. 4-0 lead for the Wolverines. After getting down 4-0, the Mavericks got 4 power plays in the final ten minutes of the second period, got away 10 shots, scored on one. They wouldn't get any closer, though, as Glendening and Winnett scored in the third. Michigan won going away, by a 6-1 score. Bryan Hogan made 35 saves, including 12 with UNO on the power play.

Scooter Vaughan stayed hot with a pair of goals and a +2 rating on Saturday. The goal scorers were a nice mix of guys that you expect to put the puck in the net and guys who it's really nice when they can provide some secondary scoring: Wohlberg, Hagelin, Glendening, Vaughan (2), Winnett. Not a bad mix there. Caporusso and DeBlois both had a pair of assists. Much better night!

Anyway, that didn't hurt us in the standings since UNO isn't in the CCHA any longer. The Wolverines do get back to CCHA play this weekend with a home and home (or away-and-home, if you prefer!) against the Ferris State Bulldogs. Here are 10 things to know about the kids from lovely Big Rapids.

1) They come into this weekend 4-2-0 (1-1-0-0 in the CCHA). They split at Alabama-Huntsville (Ehht!), swept St. Lawrence, and then split with Ohio State at home. They also lost an exhibition game to Ontario IT (EHHHHHT!). In their four wins, they've given up four goals. In their two losses, they've given up nine.

2) As you'd probably expect, defenseman Zach Redmond is leading the way offensively with 3-3--6 through six games. He had 6-21--27 a year ago. The Bulldogs graduated their top four forwards, so Redmond is the only returning player who had more than 20 points last season. Five of Redmond's six goals were on the power play, and three were game winners. One of those goals came against Michigan. Redmond was mentioned as a darkhorse in USCHO's 2010-11 Hobey Baker Preview.

3) As far as the forwards go, the top returners are Mike Embach (9-11--20) and Justin Menke (8-10--18). Matt Kirzinger is the leading returning goal scorer, with 9 as a freshman last year. Senior Nate Hennig has four goals so far this season. He had just two goals in 35 career games prior to this season.

4) They do have a very good goalie in senior Pat Nagle. As a junior, he was 12-10-3 with a 2.13/.923. He's 4-1-0 with a 1.60/.932 so far this season. That's good for #4 in GAA and #11 in save percentage. Taylor Nelson gave up 4 on 24 shots against Alabama-Huntsville in his only action this year. Nelson did play in 16 games a year ago, going 9-3-3 (2.49/.915), so he's not bad either. Nagle played both games against us last year and gave up 4 goals on 65 shots for the weekend.

5) They're averaging 3 goals per game this year, which ranks 19th in the country. The defense is #9 at 2.17. Grain of salt in that UAH and St. Lawrence are 2 of the 10 worst offensive teams in the country. Middle of the pack in PIMs (Hey, we're not #1 anymore! Thanks Northern!). 23.1% on the power play so far, 77.8% on the kill.

6) Friday night's game will air on the B2 Network, pay per view. I've always had a good experience. Sadly, I have a conflict and can't watch. Saturday's game airs on Comcast. So yeah, yet another weekend with no watching Michigan hockey for me. This blows.

By the way, who thought it was a good idea to have two sets of home-and-homes between Michigan and Ferris? I guess it's probably cheaper to bus it twice than to get two nights of a hotel for the team, but man. You do that with Bowling Green or Western. That drive to Ferris sucks.

7) Our four captains all have a pair of goals against FSU in their careers. They're the only players on Michigan's roster with multiple goals against the Bulldogs. Cappy has 2-3--5. Wohlberg has 1-3--4 in 4 games as well.

8) Bryan Hogan has done very well against Ferris. He is 2-2-0, with a 2.00 goals against and a .932 save percentage. He shut out Ferris in his lone appearance against them at Yost. Shawn Hunwick has yet to face Bob Daniels's team.

9) The Wolverines have been dominant in games at Yost (37-10-0), but the series is much closer to .500 back in Big Rapids (23-18-2).

10) The most recent contest between the two teams is the only time since 2003 that Ferris has beaten Michigan in regulation. The Bulldogs are 4-0-1 in overtime during that stretch however. Since the 2000-01 season, Ferris has held Michigan below 3 goals in just 4 of the 27 contests. That includes the most recent two games, though. The games last year were the only times that the teams have met where Ferris was ranked and Michigan was not.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Having a Seat Over There: Michael Szuma

The Wolverines picked up their second commitment for the incoming class of 2011 today as Michigan Warriors defenseman Michael Szuma committed to Michigan. It's unknown at this point if he'll be receiving scholarship money or if he'll be more of a preferred walk-on. Both his parents attended Michigan.

According to Warriors Head Coach Moe Mantha:
“He's a mobile defenseman,” Mantha said. “He can play at both ends of the ice. When I spoke with them about Mike, that's one of the thing they liked. And Mike has a nice character. He's got a good attitude.”

Szuma has 1-2--3 with 21 shots on goal in 12 games this year. He has a -1 rating and 8 PIMs. He's listed as 6'0", 195. He has 4-5--9, with 30 PIMs for the Green Mountain Glades of the EJHL last season. He also played for Catholic Central, where he was on the Oakland Press's Second Team All County.

10 Things to Know about UNO

1) If you've been under a rock, or simply don't follow college hockey much in the offseasonn, they're in the WCHA now, and they're off to a 4-0-0 start overall and a 2-0-0 start in their new conference, following a sweep at Minnesota last weekend. They also have wins over RIT and Clarkson. Currently, they sit at #10 in the USCHO poll.

2) They sit first in the nation in scoring, averaging 5.50 goals per game over their first 4. There are 15 players in the country right now who are scoring 2 points per game or better. UNO has four of them: Rich Purslow (3-6--9), Joey Martin (1-7--8), Matt Ambroz (that's the extreme version of being Matt Ambrose) (5-3--8) and Alex Hudson (3-5--8). Ambroz is second in the country in goals (Carter Camper), and Martin is tied for first in the country in assists.

3) In net is John Faulkner, who has started and finished every game. He has a 2.25/.928 early on this season. Last year he was 13-10-4 with a 2.60/.905. He got the nod in net in both games against Michigan, giving up 4 goals on the weekend. In the Saturday night game, he stopped 36 of 37 shots. Their 2.25 goals per game allowed is good for 10th in the country right now. Defenseman Eric Olimb was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week after putting up a 0-4--4, +4, 5 blocked shot line against Minnesota last weekend.

4) They're also 10th in the country in PIMs at 20.5 per night. That's still far behind Michigan's national lead at 26.2 minutes a night. You know the CCHA officials are salivating. Don't expect much flow to these games.

5) If there are a lot of penalties, we'll see two of the hottest power plays in the country. The Wolverines are tops in the country at a blistering 41.2% (7 for 17). The Mavericks come in 7th in the country at 31.6% (6 for 19). Both teams have done a good job killing off penalties as well. UNO is at 88.2% and Michigan is at 86.7% (though we have two shorties).

6) Both games this weekend will air on It looks like it'd be $7.95 to get all the streaming Michigan games for the next month. According to the MGoBlue schedule, they're also covering the Michigan/Notre Dame game on 11/12, so 3 games for $8 isn't too shabby. (Assuming they go by full months and not calendar months).

7) After being a big-time scorer in juniors (27-55--82 his last year in the USHL), Purslow hasn't done much in his college career, though he's off to a great start this year. He has 30-37--67 in 111 games. He has 3 goals and 2 assists against Michigan in 6 career games.

8) Michigan has quite a few guys who have lit the lamp against Nebraska-Omaha, despite that debacle of a series last year. Louie Caporusso has 4-5--9 in 7 games. Hagelin has 4-3--7 in 8 games. Langlais has 6 assists and Glendening has 3-2--5 in 4 games against the Mavs. I feel like I would expect to see both goalies this weekend. Bryan Hogan is 1-2-0 with a 3.84/.849. Hunwick saw, I believe, the first action of his Michigan career when he came in for a couple of minutes in a blowout win in the CCHA Playoffs a couple of years ago.

9) The Wolverines are 14-1-0 all-time against the Mavericks at Yost. UNO's only win came back in the 04 CCHA Playoffs. I recall being really pissed off after that one. This is the first time we've played a ranked UNO team since 2006. They took 3 of 4 points from us that weekend. This is the highest UNO has been ranked when we've played them since 2001 when they were ranked 7th, and we took 3 of 4 points from them.

10) UNO has never started a season 5-0-0. The fewest shots they've put up in a game this year has been 35, and they cracked the 60 mark against Clarkson (who must be just awful again).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Michigan 3, UNH 3

One of these days, I'll actually get to watch a game!

Led by a great performance out of the power play and a sparkling performance out of Shawn Hunwick, Michigan played UNH to a 3-3 tie in Durham. The Wolverines never trailed, but UNH capitalized on a power play late in regulation to send the game to overtime. Both teams had chances to win in the extra session--though UNH held an 8-1 shot advantage in the extra session--but the 3-3 score held up and there was no pointless shootout.

The teams alternated goals. Michigan never trailed, but they also never led by more than a goal. All three of Michigan's tallies were on the power play. Michigan scored on all three of their power play chances, and actually they scored on all three of their power play shots. It took a total of 2:39. Now that's efficiency!

Michigan continued to see semi-unlikely players contribute their goals. This game it was Vaughan, Brown, and Burlon. Hagelin and Rust each had a pair of assists.

The star of the game was Hunwick, though. He made a career-high 45 saves, including 8 in overtime. He also made 11 stops during a 5:32 span where the Wolverines were continuously killing penalties.

These penalties are kind of getting ridiculous. Just one of UNH's 5 power plays came when the Wolverines didn't have the lead. 7 of Mercyhurst's 8 power plays came while they were trailing (and the other was in overtime). 15 of Bowling Green's 17 came while they were trailing. So if you're counting, Michigan is 2-0-2, and yet 26 of the 30 power plays we've faced have come while we've had the lead.

One thing that I've noticed is that it seems like Scooter Vaughan is all over the place. He added another goal, led a 2-on-0 shorthanded breakaway, and has 3 points in 4 games. At least according the line chart, they elevated him up to the third line, and it seems that he's earned it. From the limited amount that I've heard, it sounds like he's off to a really great start.

48 is more shots than you'd like to give up, and it's disappointing to blow another third-period lead, but going on the road and getting a tie against a top ten opponent is a solid performance. Hunwick is proving that the end of last season wasn't a fluke--he's a legitimate goalie on this level. The power play is clicking, it seems like Merrill has stepped in and been everything they were expecting. There's definitely reason to be optimistic thusfar. They've got to clean up the penalties, though. We can't keep putting ourselves down a man (or two) for 5 minutes at a time and for half a period (or more) a game.

This week we've got a pair at home against the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks. It's a good chance to pick up a couple of wins against a WCHA-foe, which would help in the PWR at the end of the year. I'll talk more about the Mavericks later in the week, but they do come in with the #1 offense in the NCAA, averaging 5.50 goals per game. They're 4-0 with wins over Clarkson, RIT, and a pair at Minnesota (tear).

One other thing that I'd like to mention: Minnesota-Duluth equipment manager Chris Garner is battling MDS (formerly known as pre-leukemia). He is undergoing treatment, including a bone marrow transplant. As  a way of helping to offset some of the costs of this treatment, Jeremiah Minkel, SCSU's equipment manager, has organized an online auction which will begin on October 24th.

The items aren't up on the site yet, but they've got a pretty great collection of jerseys, sticks and other memorabilia. It's definitely worth checking out next week. They've got a Michigan jersey on there as well as some Mike Modano stuff, for you Wings fans out there.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Piss-Poor UNH Preview

Let's face it. It's an hour before kickoff. You're probably not going to read this. But if anyone happens to subscribe to the YostBuilt twitter feed and happens to notice that I posted during a TV timeout or something, here's a quick and dirty UNH preview.

They're 1-1-0 on the season, having split a pair of 6-3 decisions at Miami last weekend. You have to give them credit for starting off the season with a pair of games against hockey's version of the early-60s Celtics and then following it up with a game against the Wolverines.

They had 9 different players score goals last weekend. Senior Phil DeSimone led the way with 3 points. Junior defenseman Blake Kessel (yes, that Kessel) is another one to watch. He is the nation's top returning scorer amongst defensemen and had a pair of assists last weekend. He should be a strong contender for the Hobey this year.

Their goaltender is junior Matt DiGirolamo, who takes over from Brian Foster between the pipes. He gave up 8 goals on 79 shots against Miami, but made 36 saves in their win on Saturday night. Even though he is a junior, he's very inexperienced, having only played 8 games prior to this season. His career numbers are now 3-3-1 with a 4.17/.872. His lone decision last year was a win over Providence where he made 32 saves on 35 shots. As a freshman, he tied Northeastern and then got lit up in a big way against BC and UMass-Lowell (7 goals on 36 shots, and 8 goals on 35 shots).

Last year the Wildcats had the #10 offense in the country, just a tick ahead of Michigan. Their defense was #36, giving up 3.13 goals per game. Paul Thompson is their leading returning scorer. He had a 19-20--39 line last year. Kessel ended up with 38 points from back on the blueline. DeSimone just missed a point per game, with 37 points in 39 games.

Laptop battery is about to die, so the quick upshot: UNH should be a good team, per usual, and having gone on the road and beaten Miami shows that. It'll be a tough game, but I fully expect an entertaining, high-scoring contest, since it doesn't seem like they played much defense last year, and their goalie doesn't appear to be very good (albeit in limited action).

What could be the deciding factor? New Hampshire was the least penalized team in all of college hockey last year, and the only team to average fewer than ten penalty minutes a game (9.6). We're averaging 31 minutes per game this year (granted a lot of that are misconducts associated with being ejected for hits from behind). Stay out of the box!

Friday, October 08, 2010

10 Things to Know About BGSU

Michigan's first CCHA opponent of the year is the Bowling Green State University Falcons. Again, Fridya's game will air on Comcast and both games can be purchased on the B2Network. Here are ten things to know about the team that's just a quick trip down US-23.

1) This is the first time we've gone to Bowling Green for a weekend series since 2004. While we've won 3 straight in the series by a combined 10-2, Bowling Green has won 4 of the last 11 contests. They've only beaten Michigan twice in their home rink since the 99-00 season, in 2006 and 2007.

2) While the Wolverines were busy "choking" last weekend in their opening regular season contest and playing a tougher-than-expected exhibition game, the Falcons nearly blew a lead of their own. They got out to a 3-0 lead on Wilfrid Laurier before the Fightin' Lauriens (not really) came storming back to cut the lead to 4-3. That's where it ended, however. Nick Eno stopped 12 of 13 shots in the game and Andrew Hammond stopped 11 of 13.

3) The Falcons scored three power play goals, which was more than 1/8th their total from all of last season. They ranked third from the bottom in power play percentage at 11.7%. Their penalty kill was worse, giving up fifty power play goals on the season, coming in at 74.9%. Only Michigan Tech was worse on the PK. They were also one of only five teams to not score a short-handed goal all year. None of that is a good thing when you are the fourth-most penalized team in the country.

4) BGSU is coached by longtime Miami assistant Chris Bergeron. He replaces Scott Paluch, who took a position with USA Hockey. From everything I've read, it sounds like Bergeron was a really solid hire. He played at Miami and coached there for ten seasons, also helping out with their excellent recruiting.

5) The Falcons are coming off a dreadful season where they won just five games. One of those, unfortunately, was against the Wolverines at Yost. They also scored a season high (matched 4 other times) four goals in that contest. By contrast, they gave up 4+ on 18 occasions and only held teams below two goals twice.

6) Last year, Bowling Green's leading scorer was freshman Jordan Samuels-Thomas, who returns for his sophomore season. He led the team in goals (11), assists (14) and points (25), as well as power play goals (4). They actually lose six of their top eight scorers from last year's team. Samuels-Thomas and senior David Solway (5-13--18) are the two that return.

7) Senior Nick Eno and sophomore Andrew Hammond pretty much split time last year. Eno played 27 games and picked up all five of the Falcons' wins, going 5-13-4 with a 3.30/.896. Hammond was 0-12-2 with a 4.30/.880.

8) They've actually come up with some jerseys that aren't butt-ugly. They're going to a throwback-style, similar to the jerseys they wore in their national championship season of 1983-84. I actually really like the white ones, apart from the captain letter. The brown ones aren't nearly as bad as some of the jerseys they've had over the years.

9) Louie Caporusso has had 3-3--6 in six career games against the Falcons. Chris Brown had 5 points in 4 games as a freshman. Matt Rust (3-1--4 in 7 games) is the only other player with multiple goals against BGSU in his career. Bryan Hogan is 5-1-0 with a sparkling 1.84 goals against average in his career vs. Bowling Green. Shawn Hunwick has yet to face the Falcons.

10) In the 112 meetings between the two teams, there have only been five shutouts--four by Michigan. Interestingly enough, four of the shutouts have come in the last ten meetings. You have to go all the way back to 1993 for the other.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Michigan 4, Mercyhurst 4...or Mercyhurst 5, Michigan 4...

...what the hell is the proper final score of that game to put in a game wrapup? Michigan 4, Mercyhurst 4 (Mercyhurst wins shootout 2-1) maybe?

Whatever. No matter how you slice it, we blew a 4-0 lead to a team that didn't win or tie a game out of conference all season. It goes down as a tie in the record books for PWR purposes, but they went to a shootout and we lost.

I caught the third period--so most of the meltdown--on the radio and it sounded like, unfortunately, it was a flashback to the bad part of last season. Lots of defensive zone turnovers, lots of penalties (which isn't really unexpected with Sergott calling the game), lots of continuing to run into the freaking goalie David Wohlberg Louie Caporusso.

MHNet tweeted a great quote from Matt Rust: "I think we did well for the most part until we choked."

Glendening called most of the penalties "unnecessary", though from most accounts the one that really hurt (Hagelin getting tossed) was a terrible call.

On the bright side, Caporusso scored. We got some goals from guys who don't normally put the puck in the net (Pateryn and Vaughan) and it sounded like Vaughan was making quite a few good things happen out there. He darn near won the game during overtime and had 4 shots on goal in the game. They had almost 13 minutes of power play time and the net was 0. They had one PPG and we had a shortie. And we slaughtered them on faceoffs. It was especially nice to see that Treais won 10 of his 14, since he was at about 48% last year. Hunwick made a career-high 33 saves, and it sounded like he had a few blockbusters.

The downside to that: Hunwick needed to make 33 saves.

The next night, we beat Western Ontario 4-2. They're supposedly a very good team for a Canadian university. Their goalie was a veteran of 70 or so OHL games.

Glendening had 2-1--3 in the game, Wohlberg had a goal and an assist, Caporusso had 0-3--3. Hogan stopped 27 of 29 shots, and one of the goals deflected in off a defenseman. All good signs. I love seeing Louie piling up points early on, even it was an exhibition game.

What wasn't so good? After UWO scored 20 seconds into the third period to make it 4-2, the Wolverines gave them six power play chances in the final 20 minutes--including a too many men on the ice call and a pair of penalties on Llewellyn that each put us down two men.

We'll open CCHA play this weekend with a pair of games at Bowling Green. Friday night's game will be on Comcast and both games will be available for purchase on the B2Network.

Friday, October 01, 2010

10 Things to Know About Mercyhurst

1) After a 15-20-3 season a year ago, when they placed fourth in Atlantic Hockey with a 15-10-3 record, the Lakers were picked to finish second in the AHA and garnered two first place votes. I might not be a math genius, but that means that the Lakers were 0-10-0 against non-conference foes a year ago. They lost to both Alaska schools and both Colorado schools, got swept by Western, lost to Duluth and Huntsville, and got swept by Canisius in the AHA tournament. Combined goals? 48-18.

2) Even though nobody on their team really lit it up (their leading scorer, Mike Gurtler, had 14 goals and 30 points), they were 18th in the country in offense at 3.18 goals per game (about a tenth of a goal per game behind Michigan). Phil Ganand ranked fifth on the team in offense as a freshman before missing most of last year with an injury. Grant Blakey, who hails from Canton, had 11-16--27 as a freshman playing on the top line. He was also second on the team with a +16 rating and finished the year with 12 points in the final 11 games. Scott Pitt had 15-30--45 as a sophomore before a bit of a down year last year (7-18--25).

3) Defensively, they ranked 34th a year ago, giving up 3.11 goals per game. Gone is their top-scoring defenseman, along with another senior who played in 30 games last year. Senior Jeff Terminesi was a team high +17 last year.

4) Senior Ryan Zapolski got most of the work in net last year, going 15-17-3 with a 2.79/.918. His save percentage matches the guy starting in the nets for Michigan, Shawn Hunwick. Backup Max Strang was 0-3 with a 4.39/.875. They also bring in Jordan Tibbett, a one-time Michigan State commitment who played for Detroit Honeybaked back in the day.

5) Tibbett sat a row in front of me at Yost one time and denied me of the best chance I've ever had to catch a puck. A shot came into the seats and, I kid you not, the kid reached behind him and snared it as it was going by. My jaw hit the ground. The coach laughed and said "That's our goalie!" I had to tip my hat to him because that was a helluva grab. If he plays, call him a sieve a few extra times for me! Or if he's sitting on the bench, call him a backup sieve a few extra times for me!

6) Their power play was brutal a year ago. 13.4% and they gave up four shorties. Matt Fennell scored all six of his goals with the man advantage last year, to lead the team in PPGs. He graduated though. Brandon Coccimiglio had 4.

7) The PK was also subpar-just 79.8%-but they did score 8 shorties. Only St. Cloud, Boston U, and Army had more SHGs. Matt Gurtler, their leading scorer and a load at 6'2" 222, put in four of those to lead the nation. Gurtler actually scored three of those shorties in the same game, becoming just the seventh player in history to accomplish that feat.

8) These teams have played twice in their history. Michigan won the first meeting at an NCAA Regional in Grand Rapids by a 4-3 score (leading to the game against St. Cloud the next night where Miss Molly would grow to hate the "horrible people" that are Wolverine fans). In 03-04 they met again and Michigan prevailed 5-3.

9) Mercyhurst's head coach Rick Gotkin is looking for his 400th career win tomorrow night. He would be just the 11th coach to win 400 games at one school. Red Berenson is also going for his 700th career win tonight. So unless they tie, it is a milestone night for someone.

10) This is the only game in the nation that will be played this weekend which counts in the standings.