Michigan Hockey: U-M Icers Take On BGSU Falcons In Weeknight Tilt; Drop Exhibition To USNTDP, 5-3
What: Michigan Wolverines (7-10-2) (4-7-2-2) T7th CCHA vs. Bowling Green State University Falcons (5-10-5, 2-7-3-1) T10th CCHA. Tuesday, 1/8/13, 7:35 p.m. Yost Arena, Ann Arbor, Mi. TV: Big Ten Network (Comcast 256/65). Follow the action with Al Randall and Bill Trainor on the IMG Sports Network (WTKA 1050 a.m.) or track their progress on www.mgoblue.com
Michigan Hockey welcomes in the Bowling Green Falcons for the second weeknight game of the season between these two teams. Michigan defeated BGSU 3-1 on November 21st at Yost Arena and will face the Falcons for the final time in league action on Tuesday. Bowling Green will be moving over to the revamped WCHA next season and will join LSSU, NMU, Ferris State and Alaska from the CCHA. (Other teams from the WCHA that will be staying to form the new league include Alaska-Anchorage, Minnesota State-Mankato, Michigan Tech, SCSU and Bemidji State.)
Michigan Drops Exhibition To Under 18 USNTDP:
The streak is over. The Wolverines had never lost to the USA’s National Development Team (12-0) going into last Saturday night’s exhibition match, but found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-3 score at Yost arena. Future Wolverine Tyler Motte (brother of Ferris State’s CJ Motte) scored twice and fellow Michigan commits Evan Allen (1 assist) and JT Compher (2 assists) contributed helpers. Future Boston College netminder Thatcher Demko stopped 19 of 22 shots. Senior Lee Moffie scored two goals, including a shorthanded tally and freshman (and former USNTDPer) Boo Nieves notched the other marker for Michigan. Michigan junior Derek DeBlois added three assists. Jared Rutledge, also a former USNTDP goaltender, stopped 32 of 37 shots. The game was tied 2-2 after one period and remained that way after 40 minutes. The U-18’s took the lead on Motte’s second goal of the night on the power play at: 45 of the third period. The USA squad added another just: 38 later. Nieves got Michigan close midway through the period, but the U-18’s pulled away with an insurance goal with less than five minutes to go. The game was representative of most of the Wolverine home losses this season, where the visitors dominate the final period and scratch out a goal or two off of turnovers, poor defensive zone play or on special teams to secure the win.
The best news out of the game was that Jon Merrill took the ice for the first time since he was injured against Windsor in an October exhibition. He played sparingly, mostly on the power play and is expected to play a regular shift against Bowling Green. Fellow defenseman and former USNTDP player Kevin Clare is still nursing a shoulder injury and was scratched along with goaltender Adam Janecyk and defenseman (another former U-18 USA player) Jacob Trouba who had just helped the USA U-20 National team defeat Sweden in Ufa, Russia to take the gold medal. It was the USA’s third gold medal in the history of the tournament. Sweden was awarded the Silver and Russia earned the Bronze with a 6-5 OT victory over the Canadian National Team. Trouba scored four goals in the tournament was named one of the outstanding players for the USA.
Profiling The Falcons:
Bowling Green’s motto is fairly simple: work hard in every aspect of the game with special emphasis given to their defensive responsibilities. In many respects this is the only area that the Falcons have had any success in this season. They are not offensively gifted and, when presented with a lead, often defend it vigorously. It doesn’t serve for interesting hockey, but has been effective in preserving competitiveness. BGSU has been quite competitive in most of their games this season, and has taken points in half of them. It still hasn’t prevented a freefall to near the bottom of the CCHA, but has given them a chance. The Falcons have really only been blown out a handful of times this season (4-1 losses to Union and Notre Dame, and a 6-1 loss to the offense starved Spartans) and probably will be challenged by their second half schedule featuring @Michigan (1), Notre Dame (1H, 2A), @Ferris State (2), WMU (1H, 1A), @Miami (2), LSSU (2), MSU (1H, 1A) and last place NMU (2). They are actually better on the road than at home, sporting a 4-3-3 away record and a 1-7-2 mark at home.
The Falcons are led by their underclassmen- five sophomores to be exact. Captain Ryan Carpenter (6-7-13) is their most prolific offensive threat, while Dajon Mingo (4-8-12) closely follows. Dan DeSalvo (1-11-12) is an assist artist with slick hands. Adam Berkle (3-7-10) is a rebound hound and defenseman Mike Sullivan (0-9-9) relies on the power play to earn his points. The upper-class features junior Captain Cam Wojtala (5-3-8), junior Bryce Williamson (4-3-7) and senior blueliner Bobby Shea (3-5-8). Freshman forward Mark Cooper (5-1-6) adds some third line offense.
The goaltending duties are mostly handled by senior Andrew Hammond (3-7-3, 2.84 GAA, .913 save %) but have recently been split with freshman Tommy Burke (2-3-2, 2.23 GAA, .905 save %.) Both played this past weekend at Canisius where the Falcons tied and narrowly defeated the Golden Griffins.
Michigan’s offensive struggles couldn’t have more pronounced than in their GLI semi-final against Michigan Tech. Time after time they pounded shots at the Huskies net, only to be out of position or slightly inaccurate on rebounds. Several times the Wolverines got caught in the offensive end that gave their opponent grade A chances. The fury continued against MSU in the GLI third place game until finally connecting in the third period against the Spartans with four goals. More of the same inconsistent hockey followed, albeit in an exhibition loss- but the symptoms still suggest that Michigan’s season long struggles will not instantly be cured. It will be a relief getting back two dynamic talents in Jon Merrill and Jacob Trouba (5-6-11) on the blue line (joining junior alternate Captain Mac Bennett 4-8-12 +3 and senior alternate Captain Lee Moffie 2-4-6, +1) in hopes of stabilizing that leaky unit. Adam Janecyk (2-1-0, 2.00 GAA, .939 save %) had another solid weekend in net at the GLI (albeit in a 4-0 loss to Tech and a 5-2 win against MSU) and appears to have taken over the goaltending duties. Up front, AJ Treais (10-8-18) will be out against the Falcons due to a CCHA suspension earned in the GLI game against MSU. The Michigan Captain blatantly elbowed a State forward late in the game and was banished. The league later ruled that Treais would be suspended for the Wolverines’ next official game. The slack will fall to slumping sophomores Alex Guptill (4-7-11) and Phil DiGiuseppe (3-8-11). Alternate Captain Kevin Lynch (5-5-10), freshman Boo Nieves (3-10-13) and senior Lindsay Sparks (4-4-8) have been solid in the last few games and need to continue to motivate the offense.
Tale of the Tape: It’s Don Cherry Suit UGLY
Don’t look, it isn’t pretty. The Wolverines join the Falcons in having some of the ugliest statistics in the CCHA. Both teams are pretty inept offensively, although Michigan’s lineup is a bit more potent than it has shown, especially against inferior opponents. BG is near the bottom of the division I rankings tied with Canisius and Ohio State at under two goals per game. Advantage: Michigan.
Defensively, Bowling Green patterns its system in such a matter that they play “not to lose” hockey (surrendering just under 3 goals per game) more so than the uber-aggressive system Michigan pushes which often results in major defensive breakdowns. The Wolverines are also near the bottom of the Division I hockey programs in defense, yielding over three goals per game. The difference between the team statistics is about a half a goal a game. Michigan’s team defense is poor, their goaltending even worse at times- until Janecyk was given the task. This is the area that BGSU can utilize to steal points. Advantage: BGSU.
Special teams: neither power play will make or break either program, although Merrill and Trouba can and often do shine if given the chance. Michigan’s penalty kill is adequate enough to stymie the anemic BG power play, unless the Wolverines offer up enough chances. Neither team takes an inordinate amount of penalties to make this a huge difference maker. Advantage: Michigan.
Bottom line: Michigan wasn’t prepared for a 4-10-3 Tech team at the GLI and the Huskies hammered the Wolverines. The common denominator BGSU shares with Michigan Tech (outside of their records, perhaps) is their goaltending- given the right breaks and a two goal lead, the BGSU netminding is good enough to beat Michigan. Playing at Yost is a plus, even with the BGSU road record. The Wolverines need to play desperate for sixty minutes and take three points to close the gap with fifth place LSSU. It won’t be easy, but they get it done thanks to the returning defensemen and just enough goal scoring.
Yostbits:-The Wolverines finally won a game away from Yost –even if it was in Detroit- and now move to 1-5-2, (0-3-2-2) for the season.
-Michigan has now scored 51 goals compared to giving up 59 this season for a -8 goal differential. BGSU’s goal differential is -15.
-Michigan will turn right back around and host the team they are currently tied with in the standings this coming weekend at Yost. The Alaska Nanooks will visit for the final time in conference play before moving to the WCHA next season.
-BGSU is 3-1-2 in their last six games- since Michigan played them last. They defeated #17 Niagara, Alaska and Canisius, while dropping a game to Notre Dame. They also tied the Nanooks and Golden Griffins.
- Michigan’s quirky schedule will only have five home games remaining after the BGSU game: Alaska this weekend, MSU in February (coupled with the neutral game against State at JLA) and Ferris State to close the season March 1st and 2nd.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — YostMeister
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