Friday, November 09, 2012

Michigan State Preview

Wrapping up NMU:
Michigan took just two points against the Northerns last weekend, and they were probably lucky to get that much. On Friday night they trailed 4-1 after two periods before mounting a miracle comeback that culminated in AJ Treais's goal with 0.6 seconds left in regulation. Michigan then won in a shootout on another Treais goal. Saturday it was more of the same. The Wolverines trailed 4-1 after two for the second straight night and for the second straight night they mounted a comeback. They fell just short, however, by a 4-3 score.

The big story of the weekend was Jacob Trouba getting a five-minute major and a DQ for absolutely wrecking Reed Seckel. Video has surfaced:

With the way the game is called these days and with the emphasis on preventing concussions, that's going to be a DQ. Truth be told, though, the guy has his head down, he's leaning forward, and Trouba is a big dude to start with. He's going to hit him in the head whether he wants to or not. I get that they are putting the onus on the hitter to do it safely and with the way the rule reads that's the right call, but man....get your head up, son.

That's the way I skate, and I could never play in a checking league because I would die within five minutes. I don't have a problem with the DQ and subsequent game suspension, especially because the hit was with just over five minutes left in regulation, but if he had gotten any more than that I wouldn't have been happy. It's going to end up being just like in the early 2000s when they ejected players for any hit from behind, no matter how insignificant it was. I remember Porter getting tossed for one that was just comical.

In other news, AJ Treais has seven goals in seven games, which puts him third nationally in that category behind guys from Dartmouth and Yale. So that puts him first nationally in that category. Only Giancarlo Iuorio from Niagara has more goals. Mac Bennett is second national in points per game amongst defensemen with 9. Trouba is first amongst rookie defensemen and 6th nationally amongst freshmen in points per game. And destroyed Northerns.

So. Remember in my season preview when I wrote this:
What I'm getting at is that this isn't likely to be a Michigan team that is going to win games 5-4. The strength of this team is unquestionably the blueline as opposed to having blue-chip talent up front or a Hobey-candidate between the pipes.
That couldn't possibly have been more wrong. Currently the Wolverines rank first in the nation, scoring a whopping 4.43 goals per game. The downside? They're 50th nationally allowing 3.43 goals per game.

Jared Rutledge will be back between the pipes Friday night and we're going to see what he's made of. It's hard to imagine more pressure being on a young goalie in a regular season game in the second month of the season. He needs a good performance and it's a rivalry game against FYS. I really hope the crowd is supportive and doesn't get on him or get audibly anxious if he gives up a bad goal in the early going.

The Spartans rank 38th in offense (2.50 goals per game) and 39th in defense at 3.00 goals per game. As I'm sure you can imagine with numbers like those, it hasn't been a good start to the year for the young Spartan team, which features just four NHL draft picks. Minnesota did to them in their opening weekend what Alabama did to our football team. The only difference is our players weren't on Twitter saying that Jerry Sandusky would be proud of what Minnesota was doing and saying that Mike Szuma could play goal for them. Since then, they earned a win and a tie against Niagara before splitting with LSSU and BGSU.

They're led offensively by sophomore Matt Berry and freshman Matt DeBlouw, a draft pick of Calgary, with 3-4--7 lines in the eight games they've played. They combined for 8 of those 14 points in their 6-1 win over BGSU last Saturday. All of Berry's goals have come with the man advantage. In fact, 9 of FYS's 20 goals have come with an extra attacker. Their PP is 25.7%, good for 9th nationally. The PK is 23rd at 85.7%.

The Spartans also have a freshman named David Bondra. Like, Bondra Bondra, son of 2x 50-goal scorer and former Detroit Viper Peter Bondra. He has 1 assist in 8 games.

On the blueline, freshman John Draeger has chipped in with four points. Matt Grassi is their senior leader. In net, DREW PALMISANO IS FROM ANN ARBOR has graduated. Will Yanakeff WHO ALSO PLAYED IN ANN ARBOR AT USA is still there and is 2-3-1 with an ugly 3.49/.884, which was no doubt hurt by that awful weekend against the Gophers. Freshman Jake Hildebrand is 1-1-0 with a 1.72/.938. He picked up a win against the Lakers and was in net for a 1-0 loss to Bowling Green last weekend.

Friday night's game is at Yost. Saturday's game will be at the Munn Memorial Library. Both games will air on Comcast, grumble grumble.

As always, FYS.

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