Michigan Hockey: First Big Ten Game Ever — Ohio State — Preview
Wolverine Icers Barrel Over Niagara; Home & Home With Buckeyes On Tap
What: #5 Michigan Wolverines (8-2-1) Vs. THE Ohio State University Buckeyes (8-4-0)
When: Friday 11/29 7:00 p.m. Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor & Monday 12/2 7:00 p.m. Value City Arena, Columbus
TV/Radio: BTN & The Michigan Hockey IMG Radio Network (1050 a.m. Al Randall, Bill Trainor)
www.mgoblue.com for gametracker and streaming.
Niagara Falls (I know, bad pun) to Hot Michigan Goaltender:
The Wolverines had a single game visit last weekend from probably the weakest team on their schedule and easily overcame the Purple Eagles, 6-0. Michigan’s Tyler Motte started the offensive onslaught with a quick snipe at: 34 of the first period off of a dandy feed from Derek DeBlois. Andrew Copp later added the first of his two tallies for a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Copp was a warded the goal after a review that invoked a new rule, allowing a goal to count after being fired into a net that was dislodged purposely by the opponent. In between, Niagara was thwarted on several grade A scoring chances served up in the Michigan defensive end. Goaltender Zach Nagelvoort knocked away those chances and went on to secure his first shutout as a Wolverine and the first for Michigan on the season. The Purple Eagles kept the game tight until the midpoint of the second period when
Alex Kile scored his first collegiate goal off of a Luke Moffatt rebound to extend the lead to 3-0. The Wolverines wore their visitors down in the third period and potted three goals in the last ten minutes of the game- two from a very active Alex Guptill, and the sealer by Copp. Nagelvoort stopped 36 shots in the victory.
THE OSU invades Yost arena Friday night, the first visit from the Buckeyes since sweeping a series in Ann Arbor two seasons ago. Michigan has won the last four meetings, all in Columbus, and will return for the fifth time in two seasons on Monday night. The Bucks are led by first year coach Steve Rohlik, who was an assistant coach on last season’s squad. This year’s team features four seniors and ten juniors- with four of the fourteen stationed on the blue line. The Scarlet and Gray is led offensively by junior forwards Ryan Dzingel (7-7-14), Max McCormick (5-8-13), Tanner Fritz (1-9-10) and Nick Oddo (3-6-9.) Senior Alex Szczechura (4-8-12) powers the first line along with Dzingel. The blue line is anchored by freshman Drew Brevig (1-5-6) along with sophomore Craig Dalrymple (0-5-5), veteran junior Justin DaSilva (3-1-4) and rugged senior Curtis Gedig (0-3-3.)
The Buckeyes are most vulnerable in goal after losing outstanding senior Brady Hjelle to graduation. Up steps two freshmen (after sophomore Collin Olson abruptly left the program last month): Matt Tomkins (5-3-0, 2.76 GAA, .910 save %) and Logan Davis (3-0-0, 0.682 GAA, .966 save % 1 shutout) to give Ohio State talented options. (Olson was 0-1-0 in 2 appearances this season.)
Ohio State has eased into a rather pedestrian schedule, completing a 6-0 non conference stretch against the Atlantic Hockey Conference (Robert Morris, Niagara and Canisius) while awaiting a two game series against Mercyhurst later on in the schedule.
The meat of the early season schedule saw the Bucks split with Miami and Bowling Green (H&H) and also split with Minnesota-Duluth at Value City arena. Nine of their first twelve games have been played at home, where they have a 7-2 mark. Their road losses were at Miami and BGSU.
It is hard to gauge whether the Buckeyes’ gaudy offensive numbers are a product of their schedule, or of the style of play they push. Either way, it is hard to deny their 3.58 GPG average (T9th). They need every bit of that offense considering that their defense appears to be sacrificed (2.75 GPG, 30th units are in the bottom third of the NCAA rankings. (The PP is 42nd goaltenders are capable of good performances, with Davis perfect in his three outings. Overall, if the Buckeyes are successful offensively and jump out on teams early, it is pretty much their mode to tighten up and hang on to the lead after that. It has been harder for them to catch up, though, after falling behind. It is my opinion that they have not played a team as defensively stingy as Michigan, yet. Expect a couple of close games (in Ann Arbor and Columbus) with each team picking up points in their home rink.
-Michigan’s offense awoke at the expense of Niagara which did provide some much needed relief for at least one of Michigan’s forwards. Junior Alex Guptill (4-4-8) has been under pressure to start delivering some offense and was buzzing all night last Friday. Good to see the big fella skate hard each shift and it paid off in a pair of goals.
– Andrew Copp (7-5-12) is rolling… with two more goals he is on a pace to score 20+ goals this season. Phil DiGiuseppe (4-6-10) added two helpers and freshman JT Compher (2-8-10) is leading the team in assists after adding two more last Friday. D-man Michael Downing added his fourth assist for the season. Others on the score sheet: Tyler Motte (1G, 2A), Alex Kile (1G), Luke Moffatt (2A), Derek DeBlois (2A) and Boo Nieves (1A).
-B1G Ten kudos this week to First Star Zach Nagelvoort (5-2-0, 1.48 GAA, 950 save %) and Second Star Tyler Motte (1G, 2A) for their effort against Niagara. Nagelvoort leads the NCAA in GAA and is second in save %. Motte (5-2-7) opened the scoring with a laser last weekend and added two assists.
-Michigan’s offense rose to (T20th) at 3.09 GPG average after last Friday’s outburst. The team is 3rd in PP conversion (27.9%) and 17th minutes per game, T37th) are in the middle third of the NCAA pack when it comes to being penalized. We’ll see if the rivalry games encourage a bit more mischief.
Michigan was shifted back up to the #3 spot this week on the basis of their blow out win over Niagara combined with several other teams splitting their series, including (still) #1 Minnesota (9-2-1) who halved with Minnesota Duluth.
Wisconsin (4-3-1) was idle last weekend and remained at #12 this week. The Gophers and the Badgers will tangle this weekend in another B1G Ten series clash, while Michigan State will host Princeton and Penn State will entertain Union in non-conference action in penalty killing at 84.6%. Both Michigan (12.27 minutes per game, 33rd
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Yostmeister
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