Sunday, October 14, 2012

Michigan Gets the Split - Michigan 7, RIT 2

Photo Credit: Bill Rapai
Like the night before, the Wolverines entered the third period of the game with a 3-1 lead. Unlike the night before, however, there would be no comeback by the feisty Tigers from RIT. After RIT cut the lead to 3-2 5:18 into the final frame, the Wolverines responded with a goal 47 seconds later and didn't let down, adding three goals in a 2 1/2 minute span in the middle part of the period.

13 of the 18 skaters registered at least one point for Michigan, with PDG, Boo, DeBlois, and Treais all registering multiple points. PDG had the game-winner and an assist on the big Treais goal that made it 4-2 right after RIT had climbed within one. He was named the #1 star of the game.

Lee Moffie got the Wolverines started 9:11 into the game. Nieves chipped the puck back to the point and he let a shot go through a K. Lynch screen that beat Jordan Ruby. Travis Lynch made it 2-0 Wolverines with a short-handed goal late in the period. Derek DeBlois made a nice play to keep the puck alive in behind the RIT net and fed Lynch streaking into the slot. It was Lynch's second in as many games.

RIT cut the lead in half in the first five minutes of the second on an unassisted goal by Jeff Smith. It remained 2-1 for about ten minutes before the Wolverines would light the lamp again. Boo Nieves intercepted an outlet pass from Elliot Raibl and sent PDG into the zone. Di Giuseppe wristed one from the top of the circles and it found its way through Ruby. He may have been screened on that one.

After RIT again cut the lead to one, it was Di Giuseppe getting a defenseman to dive at him, then wrapping around to the other side of the net and somehow getting a pass through two more defenders to Treais, who used a quick release from the slot to put the Wolverines back up by 2.

Andrew Sinelli then scored the first of his career, on a very nice half-slapper into the top corner to give the Wolverines some insurance. Less than a minute later the Wolverines were on the power play and Jacob Trouba added his second goal of the weekend. Guptill won a draw to Treais, he sent it over to Trouba for a one-time bomb and it was 6-2. I feel like that's something that has been missing from Michigan's arsenal for a few years--the ability to just win a draw and have the defenseman bomb one home. While the power play pretty much had to be better than it was last year, the presence of Trouba adds so much.

Michigan wasn't done. Lindsay Sparks would add a goal on a wrister to the far side of the net a minute and a half later to get to the final margin of victory.

Photo credit: Bill Rapai
Steve Racine got his first start and had a solid game, stopping 21 of the 23 shots put on him. Neither goal was included in the highlight package (obvious?) but neither was said to be one that he was expected to stop.

Mac Bennett had a great weekend. He had a goal and an assist, was +2, had five shots on goal, and blocked seven shots, half of the entire team's total through two games. Mike Spath said that through five periods he was Michigan's best player.

It's hard to complain about the production out of the third line of Lindsay Sparks, Travis Lynch, and Derek DeBlois. That trio combined for 4 goals, 3 assists, and a +11 rating on the weekend.

The Wolverines put 51 shots on net, including 20 in the third period. Every player who dressed recorded at least one shot on goal this weekend. For the series the power play was 3-for-13 (23%) and generated 27 shots on goal (!!!). The PK was 9-for-9 and added a short-handed goal. Good weekend for the special teams.

It wasn't all perfect for Michigan on Friday, though. Defenseman Kevin Clare left the game and reportedly had his arm in a sling after the game. Red expressed concern about his status. With Merrill already out of the lineup, if Clare is out for any period of time, the Wolverines will likely turn to Mike Szuma. Szuma got into two games a year ago.

Photo Credit: Bill Rapai
Around the web:
Mike Spath posted his thoughts on who should start in net. ($ link)

Yost Section 25 is quickly turning into a must-read blog. He posted his thoughts on Friday's game, as well as some thoughts on the goalie situation:

In goal, I thought Racine was steady.  He wasn’t spectacular and he gave up a lot of rebounds.  He also seemed to lose sight of the puck at times, and the defense helped him out.  I didn’t get to see Rutledge against RIT, but I did see him for a period against Windsor and thought that he just seemed a bit nervous in the crease.  I think both of these guys with a little seasoning are going to be good goalies for the team.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Friday/Saturday platoon from these guys at least for a few weeks until Red can see how they actually perform in game situations.  In the meantime the defense will have to clear away the rebounds and make sure we don’t give up soft goals.
MHNet has post-game quotes from Red as well as thoughts from Geoff Chiles. He was impressed with Nieves.

What stood out for me?  Speed.  He has it, and lots of it.  The freshman might not have Hagelin-esque speed, but it’s definitely there in good supply.  Up and down the ice all night, disrupting passes from RIT players, and finding his teammates.  Humble, and not arrogant or garish about his draft selection.  I feel like we’re all going to love this kid, and what he’s going to bring to Michigan.

Nieves skated on the second line on Friday and recorded two assists.

The Daily has their usual assortment of quality articles: Game story Thursday, game story Friday, the struggles of the defense on Thursday, comments on the goalies, an article about the offense coming from a variety of sources, and the dominance of the power play.

Michigan will take on Bentley in a single game this Friday.

No comments: