Michigan Hockey: Icers Travel To Nebraska-Omaha — Preview
#2 Michigan Icers Travel To Nebraska-Omaha Fresh Off Bye Week
What: #2 Michigan Wolverines (6-1-1) Vs. University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (5-5-0)
When: Friday/ Saturday 11/15-16 9:07 p.m. Friday, 8:07 p.m. Saturday Century Link Center, Omaha, Nebraska
TV/Radio: Friday- CBS College Sports; Saturday- No T.V. & The Michigan Hockey IMG Radio Network (1050 a.m. Al Randall, Bill Trainor)
www.mgoblue.com for gametracker and streaming.
Reviewing the MTU Huskie Sweep (11-1/2):
Michigan rode great goaltending and timely scoring in tense 3-2(OT) and 2-1 victories over Michigan Tech two weeks ago. The Wolverines jumped out front 2-0 Friday on goals from Phil DiGiuseppe and Luke Moffatt. MTU got right back into the game in the second period, including a game tying shorthanded goal mid way through the frame. Both goaltenders were sharp, with Pheonix Copley matching Zach Nagelvoort with key saves. The Wolverines survived an early 2×1 break in OT by Tech, and then scored the winner on a broken play. Tech was trying to send the puck deep into the Michigan zone when it hit the assistant referee. Mac Bennett quickly wheeled it out to Andrew Copp who stepped over the Tech blueline and a wristed a shot that deflected off the stick of an on-coming defender and fooled Copley. The win was bittersweet, though, as Michigan lost key freshman defender Kevin Lohan to a serious knee injury. On Saturday, Michigan rode goals by Copp (PP) and Justin Selman (his first in his first meaningful game) to a mid game 2-0 lead. MTU scored on a defensive miscue with about 7:00 left to make things interesting down the stretch. The Wolverines held on though to a tight, physical 2-1 win. Nagelvoort was named #1 star and earned the B1G Ten’s #2 star of the weekend.
On deck-traveling to the Heartland:
The Wolverines had a bye week to rest and re-group before traveling to face the UNO Mavericks in a weekend series. The Mavericks have moved into the newly established NCHC conference featuring former WCHA heavyweights Denver, CC, SCSU, UM-Duluth and North Dakota along with former CCHA members, Miami and WMU. This is the third conference in the program’s short (1997-98) Division I history. The Mavs were independent for one season before accepting a spot in the CCHA, which they held until the conclusion of the 2009-10 season. Michigan has held the upper hand on UNO, with a 26-7-3 mark entering play this weekend. Three of the Mavs’ seven wins, though, are considered “signature” wins for the program: a 1999-00 CCHA tournament semi-final win (7-4) over the favored Wolverines and, a momentous sweep that took place the last time Michigan visited Omaha, on Valentine’s Day weekend in 2010. Michigan exacted a bit of revenge the following season by overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the 2010-11 NCAA Midwest Regional semi-finals and skated off with a bizarre 3-2 OT victory- on the weight of a referee’s decision to count what is still debated as a questionable Kevin Lynch goal. The process took 10 minutes to determine that the shot actually slide under the pads and past the line before UNO managed to sweep the puck out. Video review either confirmed the goal (for many, including impartial fans) or was judged inconclusive (from a UNO viewpoint.) That has set off a rallying cry this week (they are calling it “hate week”) among the UNO fans (also known as the “Red Army”.) Of course, UNO fans have held a certain level of contempt for Michigan for a variety of reasons anyways, and take every opportunity to voice it.
Former North Dakota boss Dean Blais took the reins of the program in 2009 and is trying to craft the program much like he did for the Sioux back in the 1990’s, which was predicated on a high tempo system with high octane talent. The system is the same, but the talent hasn’t been to the same degree yet. Still, UNO is a dangerous offensive team that pushes up ice and activates its defense frequently. The preseason set the Mavericks back a bit as they lost their leading goal scorer, Matt White, due to an off ice act that also claimed a recruit and an incoming freshman. Still, the Mavericks are potent, featuring six seniors and juniors apiece, with at least ten of them seeing regular ice time. Senior forward Ryan Walters is tied for the team’s points lead (3-9-12, 3 PPG’s) along with edgy junior forward Josh Archibald (8-4-12, 2 GWG’s, 2 PPG’s, 21 PIM’s.) A pair of freshmen, D-man Ian Brady (2-5-7) and forward Jake Guentzel (2-6-8) has already made their mark in the lineup. Altogether, UNO has six NHL draftees, including Archibald & Guentzel (Pittsburgh selections.) Archibald has been involved in scoring in 8 of the 10 games UNO has played this season and highlights the (T20th) best NCAA D1 offense at 3.10 GPG.
The weak link so far in 2013-14 for the Mavericks has been their defensive play, which is 43rd in the country, allowing 3.30 GPG. They use a three goalie tandem in Freshmen Kirk Thompson (3-2-0, 3.12 GAA, .881 Save %.) and Reed Peters (0-1-0, 1.85 GAA and .944 Save %.) Junior Ryan Massa is most likely going to see at least one of the starts. He is 2-2-0 with a 3.28 GAA and a .873 Save %.
UNO’s special teams, at least based on their first ten games, are not that special. The PP checks in at 38th converting 16.95%. The PK has been exploited at a 69.4% kill rate (55th.) UNO doesn’t help itself by being the 10th worst team in PIM’s (17.20 MPG.)
Overall, the Mavericks started out of the gate slow, splitting home games with Bentley and splitting on the road at NMU. The Mavs then dropped two close home games to Cornell before sweeping NCHC rival Denver on the road (both in OT.) This past weekend UNO split a home series with North Dakota, winning Friday 4-2 and losing Saturday 3-2 in games that, based on how Michigan has played this season, will be very similar to what we may see this weekend. UNO has been outscored by opponents, 33-31 this season, but is 3-1 in their last four, outscoring opponents 12-9 during the streak.
-No word yet on who will start in goal for Michigan. Both freshman Zach Nagelvoort and sophomore Steve Racine practiced this week. Nagelvoort is 3rd in the NCAA in GAA (1.47) and Save % (.948)
-Andrew Copp leads the offense for Michigan (4-4-8) followed by Phil Di Giuseppe (3-4-7). Freshman Tyler Motte and senior Luke Moffatt are also tied with Copp with a team lead 4 goals apiece.
Freshman JT Compher paces the team with 5 assists.
-The Wolverines start strong out of the gate, holding a 9-2 goals advantage over opponents in the 1st period. The 2nd period remains a challenge, as Michigan has been outscored 10-5. Michigan has outscored opponents in the 3rd period 6-2 and in OT, 2-0. They have outscored opponents 22-14 this season.
Pollwatch: Michigan moved up to the #2 spot last week and maintained it during their bye, garnering 9 first place votes this week. Fellow B1G Ten conference mate Minnesota split a series in South Bend and is still considered the #1 team in D1. Wisconsin moved up to #12 this week.
– Men, grow those staches: Wolverine juniors Alex Guptill and Mike Chiasson are leading the crusade for November, the annual reminder that men should check their health status, particularly for men’s diseases such as prostate & testicular cancer. On Twitter, tweet #GROWBlue and support the cause.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Yostmeister
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