Michigan Hockey: Miami vs. Michigan -- Preview

Posted at 5:45am — 10/26/2012

Michigan Hockey: Miami vs. Michigan — Preview

#3 Miami Invades Yost For A Weekend Pair Against The #6 Ranked Wolverines
What: #6 Michigan Wolverines (2-1) vs. #3Miami Red Hawks (3-0-1)
Michigan holds a 71-26-4 all-time lead in the series and played four games last season (2-1-1-1) with Miami, including 4-1 and 3-0 wins at Yost.
Games will be at Yost Ice Arena Friday 10/26 @ 7:35 p.m. Comcast Local (ch.900 in A2); 7:35 p.m. Audio on WTKA (1050 AM) Friday; and Saturday, 10/27 @ 7:35 p.m. Saturday’s game will be not be televised but will be broadcasted on the IMG Michigan Sports Network or follow on www.mgoblue.com.

Recapping Last Week’s Action:
The Wolverines played a single game against Bentley last Friday night and triumphed, 6-3. AJ Treais paced Michigan’s offense with 2G along with line mates Phil DiGiuseppe (2A) and Luke Moffatt (1A). Bentley jumped out to an early 1-0 with a Brett Gensler goal at 8:07 and carried that lead into the dressing room. Michigan squandered two power play chances, including a 5×3 chance for 1:29 in the period, but outshot the Falcons, 12-6. Treais knotted the score at one on a scramble out in front at: 31 of the second period. The Falcons capitalized on shoddy coverage in the Wolverine defensive zone and recaptured the lead as Jared Rickord scored on a rebound at 2:53. Treais struck again at 3:50, this time forcing a turnover at the Michigan blue line, outraced a defender to the puck and began a 2×1 rush with PDG. DiGiuseppe fed a pass back to Treais who banked in a shot from an acute angle to tie the game. Freshman Andrew Copp scored his first career goal on a nice feed in the slot from Zach Hyman. Copp buried a hard wrister at 11:06 to give Michigan a lead it never surrendered. Alex Guptill also put one past Bentley netminder Branden Komm at 13:47, but had the goal waived off due to a premature whistle. The puck squeezed through Komm, but apparently the official lost sight of it and blew it dead prior to the puck crossing the goal line. Nonetheless, the Wolverines outshot the Falcons 20-11 in the period and 32-17 through two periods. In the third period Michigan used their depth to pull away. Guptill finally got credit for the GWG goal at 3:29. Hyman followed up a little over two minutes later banging home a rebound of a Mac Bennett shot to extend the lead to 5-2. Bentley didn’t quit, though, and counterattacked after heavy Wolverine pressure, catching Michigan with an odd man rush. Defenseman Brennan Serville took the only penalty of the game for Michigan, but prevented a goal in doing so. Unfortunately, though, Bentley’s Matt Maher drilled in a shot on the delayed whistle to tighten the game at 5-3 with ten minutes left. (Serville still had to serve his penalty due to changes in the NCAA rules last season.) The Wolverines killed the penalty and dominated the rest of the period, finally capitalizing on a gambling Bentley pinch strategy. Jacob Trouba sprung Kevin Lynch with a tape to tape stretch pass and the senior went in alone only to be stopped by Komm. Guptill followed up the play and banged in the rebound to end the scoring at 17:55. Michigan ended up outshooting the Falcons 56-25 for the game (24-8 in the third period.) Freshman Steve Racine picked up his second victory on the young season and turned aside the Falcons several times when the game was still in the balance. Bentley’s Gensler finished the game 1-1-2, along with Maher’s 1-1-2 and Alex Grieve’s 0-2-2 to pace the Falcons. The line of Copp-Hyman-Selman was really strong, adding 2-3-5. Guptill-Lynch-Nieves also finished 2-3-5 to give Michigan’s top three lines 15 points for the game.

Profiling The Red Hawks:
Enrico Blaisi’s Miami team is young, talented and ready to measure their progress against the Wolverines. Gone is the majority of the potent Red Hawk scoring from the last couple of seasons- as well as the experienced net minding that carried them into NCAA appearances the last four seasons. Now the new look Hawks feature nine freshmen on their roster including a new two headed goaltending monster that looks very comfortable between the pipes. The offense has been turned over to the underclassmen- as super sophomores Blake Coleman (4-1-5) and Austin Czarnik (2-3-5) have gotten out to fast starts after combining for 60 points last season. Freshman Riley Barber (3-2-5) looks like a poised veteran around the net. Sophomore Jimmy Mullin (0-1-1) was scratched last Saturday, but provided 26 points in his first campaign. The Hawks will miss sophomore Alex Wideman due to mononucleosis and will have to rely on senior depth, including Wolverine killer Curtis McKenzie (0-2-2). Junior Bryan Paulazzo potted 3 of his 4 points this season against Providence last Saturday.

The blue line features senior captain Steven Spinell (0-2-2) and big Joe Hartman who missed last week due to injury. No word on his status, but it would be a blow to Miami if Hartman is out again. Why? Well, because as good as their young talent is, it may not be enough to overcome their growing pains against a talented team like Michigan. Still, freshmen Taylor Richart, Michael Mooney, Chris Joyaux and Matthew Caito will get a taste of their first road contest. Sophomore Ben Paulides completes the rotation unless F/D (senior) Garrett Kennedy is forced to step in. Miami’s defense is big and mobile, but lacks offensive punch. They focus on stopping opponents and so far have done it pretty well.

The biggest question that seems to have been answered so far is the goaltending. Freshman Ryan McKay not only stepped in with a strong opening performance, but also shut out Colgate in his first collegiate game. McKay (1-0-1, .048 GAA, .984 save %) has sparkled- and sits tied for the top save percentage in NCAA division I. His partner, freshman Jay Williams is 2-0-0 with a 1.94 GAA and a .915 save %. Both will presumably see action this weekend. The pollsters must be buying into the hype, jumping Miami over Michigan this week into the #3 slot. The goaltending has no doubt been the key to their confidence.

Tale of the Tape: We’re getting closer to a better sample size.
Both Miami and Michigan will not have trouble scoring. The Wolverines will test the young Miami goaltending this weekend, checking in as the top scoring team in the country averaging 5.67 gpg. The Hawks are no slouches, checking in at the 14th best offense at 3.25 gpg. Michigan has more experience up front and will flex their muscles if given the chance. Similarly, the Hawks are 4th in defense only allowing 1.25 gpg. The Wolverines have struggled defensively this season and have surrendered “unearned” goals as coach Berenson would say. The difference is, Miami’s team defense has contributed strongly to their goaltending success. Right now, I’d lean on Miami’s ability to keep the Maize and Blue off the board more so then rely on Michigan’s ability to stifle Miami. Hartman may be absent, but Michigan will have to prove that they can score against the best talent they will have played so far this season.

The special team’s statistics are still fuzzy. Miami is 10th in killing penalties, only allowing one goal in twenty chances. Michigan is tied for 1st overall with nine other programs at a perfect 100% (10/10). Miami’s PP is not as strong as in the past and is currently T22nd converting at 17.65%. The Wolverines were abysmal last season and have showed signs of a renewed attack, especially with Jacob Trouba on the point. Still, Michigan is only 21st, converting at an 18.75% clip. Considering last season, I would take that average this season. I’d give the Wolverines the edge.
Miami has started the season a little undisciplined, reflected in their 13th worse PIM average (16.25 per game.) Michigan on the other hand, has been extremely disciplined (T-46th) at 8 minutes per game average.

Conclusion: Michigan splits this weekend, dropping the Friday game 4-2 before rebounding on Saturday, and 5-3.

-Michigan enters the weekend 45-5-1 at Yost against Miami. Their last home loss to Miami occurred on 11/7/2009.
-Defenseman Kevin Clare has been practicing this week and is considered probable for this weekend. Clare missed last week’s game against Bentley.
-Junior alternate captain Mac Bennett (1-3-4) leads the team with a +5 rating and was again considered the best player on the ice last Friday. Junior Derek DeBlois is +3 and sophomore Travis Lynch checks in at +3. On the flip side, the top line of Treais-PDG-Moffatt must start to pick up their defensive play. They are a collective -4 on the season, even if their combined 11 points lead the team. This is a concern considering that the team has only given up 10 goals this season.
– Sophomore Zach Hyman scored his first goal of the season on Friday- halving his output from last season. He has been described as “snake bitten” by Berenson and has shown a stronger confidence and awareness around the net. His set-up of freshman Andrew Copp’s goal was purely from tough corner work and patience. Considering his face off prowess and +1 status, I’d say he has put his struggles from last year behind him and is finding the potential Michigan fans expected. Nice work, Zach.
-Career firsts: Copp, as mentioned and Justin Selman, collected their first collegiate points. Both are +2. Selman adds a physical element to the Wolverines and gives Michigan scoring balance also. Daniel Milne, who sat out last Friday, is the only freshman (outside of the goaltenders) that has not hit the score sheet.
-Black Ace: Sophomore Mike Szuma was given the opportunity to jump into the lineup last Friday when fellow defenseman Kevin Clare’s injury kept him out. The preferred walk-on held his own playing alongside Brennan Serville on the third pairing. Szuma didn’t figure in the scoring, but also didn’t allow a goal while on the ice. He contributed 3 shot blocks during the limited minutes he played. Well done Mike!

Around The CCHA:
Last week I failed to mention that our rivals from East Lansing were embarrassed at Minnesota two weeks ago, losing 5-1 and 7-1. This past weekend the Spartans entertained Niagara and had to rally from two goals down to win. The next night they played to a draw, scoring while playing with the extra attacker with: 49 left. Notre Dame split a home series with WCHA foe Minnesota-Duluth. Ohio traveled to the east and tied and lost to Quinnipiac. Lake State split with Bemidji State while NMU traveled to UNO and also split. BGSU went to upstate NY and split with Colgate. Ferris State had all they could handle with Mercyhurst, beating the Lakers and then settling for a tie. WMU dumped Canisius twice in K-zoo, while Miami defeated Providence and then tied the Friars. The Alaska Nanooks won the Brice Alaska Gold Rush tournament in Fairbanks, beating Merrimack 3-2 and then upsetting North Dakota 2-1. Senior goaltender Steve Thompson was named CCHA goaltender of the week for his strong effort. Overall, the CCHA finished 13-5-4 for the weekend and will now begin conference play.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — YostMeister

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