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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only thing I'm really worried about are the penalties. It sounded like there were a couple defensive zone issues and a couple good chances they couldn't finish on, but Red can and will fix those.

The penalties, on the other hand, were a problem pretty much all of last year and so far most of this year. They just CAN NOT keep giving opponents, especially good ones, all these PP opportunities and expect to win. Even if the PK steps up like it almost always does, you're still going to get goals against (and big ones, like the game tying goal on Saturday) because of opposing Power Plays and Michigan really thrives on being able to fly up and down the ice. Taking all the PKs really kills that momentum and makes a lot of our top players spend too much time and energy playing defense rather than being able to go on the offense, consistently.

I don't know how Coach is supposed to fix it, I don't know if he really can, other than trying to rotate guys in and out that are culprits, but they NEED to play smarter, regardless of how many penalties are legitimate, they just need to play smarter and cleaner.
I'm frustrated if you couldn't tell...