Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NMU Revisited and Ferris State Preview

The "top ranked" Wolverines went on the road for the first time to take on Northern Michigan last weekend. They lost on Friday night before rebounding with the first shootout win in program history on Saturday. That dropped them to a more-reasonable-but-still-probably-a-little-high #4 ranking.

Halfway through Friday night's game, Shawn Hunwick had made 17 saves and the score was 0-0. Hunwick was run into and reacted poorly. I haven't seen a video clip, but it looked like he clocked an NMU player with his blocker. He was given a 5-minute major penalty for contact to the head and was ejected. Luke Moffatt and Andrew Cherniwchan were also given fighting majors and game DQs in the altercation.

After the fight, NMU scored 4 goals on their next 14 shots. The Wolverine battled back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game with under 4 minutes to play in regulation, but the Wildcats scored just over a minute later and added an empty netter to win 5-3. Sparks, Hyman, and T. Lynch scored for the Wolverines.

The next night, the Wolverines got out to a 2-0 lead behind goals from Treais and Sparks. NMU scored a pair of power play goals to tie the score, before Kevin Lynch put Michigan back ahead heading to the 2nd intermission. NMU tied it back up in the first minute of the third period and it stayed that way the rest of the game. Michigan had a power play for almost the entire overtime session but was unable to capitalize. Treais scored the only goal in the shootout, and Michigan was able to salvage two points on the weekend (out of six).

#6 Ferris State comes to town for a Thursday/Friday series at Yost. The Bulldogs are 6-0-0 on the season and just swept The Dynasty last weekend in Big Rapids, which helped them jump 8 spots in the USCHO poll and got them a first-place vote. They've given up just 5 goals in six games and held the high-powered Miami offense to a pair of goals.

One positive: The Bulldogs played a pair of games against St Lawrence (on the road) and beat them 4-2 (with an ENG) and 5-1 (in a game that was 3-1 with under 5 to play). Michigan beat them 10-3 at Yost. They then blanked RPI by 4-0 and 2-0 scores. Last weekend, the Bulldog duo of Tyler Nelson and CJ Motte out-dueled Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp.

The Bulldog power play was the difference in that series. They went 4 for 13 with the man advantage and held the RedHawks scoreless on 8 opportunities. Both of their goals in the 2-0 game came on the power play.

As you'd expect, since they've only given up 5 goals, the goaltenders have fantastic numbers. Nelson and Motte have split time this year and are both 3-0-0. Nelson has a 1.34/.943 and Motte has a ridiculous 0.33/.986(!).

Only 8 players have scored for FSU (which matches how many we had against SLU), but Travis Ouellette has 6 (second nationally with four on the PP) and Kyle Bonis has 5. They haven't gotten any goals out of their defensemen, but Chad Billins had 6 assists.

Overall, they're 14th nationally with 3.50 goals per game. Clearly 0.83 goals per game defensively is #1 in the nation. Only five other teams are even within a goal of that. The power play is humming along at 25% and they've given up just one goal on the penalty kill, which is good for 96.4%.

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