Thursday, February 04, 2010

Michigan Hockey: Bowling Green and Wisconsin -- Previews

Posted at 12:00pm -- 2/4/2010

Bowling Green / Wisconsin Vs. Michigan Wolverines Hockey Preview

#19 MICHIGAN (15-12-1, 10-9-1-1) T6th in the CCHA
BGSU (4-18-4, 3-13-4-3) 11th in the CCHA
Thursday 2/4, 7:05 PM Bowling Green, Oh. Tuesday 2/9, 7:35 p.m. Yost Ice Arena

#3 WISCONSIN (15-7-4, 11-6-3 T4th WCHA)
Saturday 2/6, 6:10 PM EST, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin

Television: Thursday night: No TV; Saturday night: BTN; Tuesday night: No TV.

Here is a condensed version of this week’s preview, with Michigan traveling for two games, followed by a home game next Tuesday night. The Wolverines open the week with a vital road game at CCHA foe, Bowling Green on Thursday, followed by travel to Madison for the much-anticipated outdoor game on Saturday against the Badgers. Michigan returns home to Yost Arena against cluster mate, BGSU on the 9th. This is an NHL like difficult stretch of three games, three cities in five days, followed by a Valentine’s weekend clash at dangerous University of Nebraska-Omaha. More on that match up next week.

Flopping Falcons:

Bowling Green has had a rough season, although one of their four wins is against Michigan this season. Here are some updated facts about the Falcons:

1. BGSU was one of four schools that originally chartered the CCHA. The Falcons left the WCHA and formed the CCHA in 1971 with Ohio State as well as with the now defunct Ohio University and St. Louis University programs.

2. BG is 2-4-2 in their last eight games, but is unbeaten in their last three games (1-0-2).

3. Michigan has won the last two games played on BG’s campus, suffering their last loss on 2/9/07, a 3-2 decision settled by a Tomas Petruska goal with less than a minute to go in the game.

4. Ironically, the Falcons have also won the last two games played against Michigan at Yost Arena. Michigan lost earlier this season, 4-2, giving up three third period goals including two PP goals. That also happened to be the lone away victory that BG has secured this season (1-11-3, not including a neutral ice tournament victory during the holidays).

5. BG is led by Freshman Jordan Samuels-Thomas (9-12-21), who is 2nd in the CCHA in freshmen scoring, and 3rd in the country in freshman scoring. Senior Tomas Petruska follows (7-13-20), as well as Junior Asst. Captain David Solway (4-11-15). Senior Defenseman Kyle Page leads the blue line corps with a 3-10-13 line.

6. Nick Eno holds court between the pipes, carrying a 4-10-3 record with a 3.20 GAA and a .897 Sv.% Back-up netminder Andrew Hammond is 0-8-1 with a 4.14 GAA and a .885 Sv.%

7. BG’s woes are borne out of their statistics: 12.9% PP conversion (52nd in the country), 75% PK rating, (55th) 2.12 goals per game average (53rd), 3.69 GPG allowed (54th) and 17.1 minutes per game in penalties (10th) which is, ironically, tied with Michigan.

8. Only two BG players enjoy a “+” rating on the season, meaning that most of the team has been on the ice for more goals scored against them than they have been on the ice for Bowling Green tallies.

Badger Buzz:

On the other hand, Michigan will go from playing one of the worst statistical teams in the country, to one of the top teams in the country, period. Wisconsin is no stranger to playing an outdoor game, having beaten Ohio State several years ago in a similar venue in Green Bay’s venerable Lambeau Field. Wisconsin is expecting a good walk up crowd and may entertain upwards of 50,000 fans- much lower than what was anticipated. Here is how the Badgers have been rolling since Michigan’s 3-2 victory at Yost back on November 28th:

1. Wisconsin is coming off of a split with conference rival and top-five team, Minnesota-Duluth. The Badgers currently are ranked #3 in the USCHO and INCH polls. The Badgers are 9-2-3 at home and are 5-2-3 in their last ten games. Michigan leads the overall series 62-52-7, or 64-51-7 according to Wisconsin records. Michigan is also 6-4 in the past ten games played against the Badgers.

2. Wisconsin’s offense is ranked 2nd in the nation, with a 3.88 GPG average. Their defense leads the nation in points. Wisconsin gives up an average of 2.38 GPG, T9th in the country.

3. The Badger’s PP is potent, especially from the point. They are converting on average 19.6% on the PP, 22nd in the country. Their PK is solid at 85.3%, good for 13th in the country.

4. Wisconsin, much like Ferris State and Miami, also struggle with excessive penalty minutes per game. The Badgers are 4th in that category, racking up 19.2 PIM’s per game.

5. The offense is led by Detroit Red Wing draft choice (Junior defenseman) Brendan Smith (10-21-31). Senior Blake Geoffrion (18-9-27) leads the Badgers in goals, while Sophomore (and World Junior Gold Medal winner) Derek Stepan leads the team in assists with 23. Senior Michael Davies (11-19-30) is also a dangerous sniper.

6. The Badgers are a veteran squad, with Tri-captains Seniors Ben Street (10-7-17), Aaron Bendrickson (4-8-12) and Junior Ryan McDonough (3-9-12) leading the way.

7. The goaltending is platooned between Junior Scott Gudmandson (8-2-4, 2.20GAA, .919 Sv%) and Junior Brett Bennett (7-5-0, 2.42. GAA, .896 SV%.)

Wolverine Notes:

Carl Hagelin (13-17-30) added three points to his team leading goals and points count this past weekend against MSU. Matt Rust 9-16-22) also added three points, while Louie Caporusso added a goal to boost his totals to 7-13-20. Freshman Chris Brown had a phenomenal pair of games against State, scoring what should have been the game tying goal on Friday before it was waived off, only to gain redemption for that larceny by scoring the GWG on Saturday. Brown now has 10-10-20 for the season. Steve Kampfer still leads the defense in scoring with 1-12-13 to go with his 40 penalty minutes.

The Wolverines score an average of 3.14 GPG, T21st in the country. They allow 2.32 GPG, 8th in the country. Their PP is converting at 19.3%, up to 25th. Their PK is now at 87.9%, slipping to 6th in the nation. As I mentioned earlier, they are improving their penalty minutes per game, but still are tied with BG for 10th worst in the country at 17.1 minutes per game.

Speaking of penalties, David Wohlberg is the new leader in the clubhouse, now having taken 17 penalties for 50 minutes on the season. Tristin Llewellyn (who has been benched the last four games) is second with 18 for 47 minutes. Chad Langlais (15-46) and Brian Lebler (17-45) follow closely behind on the sin-bin list.

Goaltender Bryan Hogan (15-11-1) is allowing 2.28 goals on the average. He holds a nominal .902 SV%. He needs to secure Michigan’s first mission in beating BG Thursday, before he sets his sights on the Badgers. Hogie has been much maligned this season, but with good reason. He stoned the Badgers during the CHS, but was brutal against BG earlier this season at Yost. He needs to start controlling his rebounds better and give his team the confidence it needs if they give him a lead, OR, keep them close enough to come back in games. His play against Michigan State last weekend was suspect, which is no better evident in his save percentage- as Michigan has limited most teams’ quality chances. Hogan needs to make more stops and prevent second chance rebounds.

This week’s keys to the match up:

Bowling Green:

1. Michigan’s offense appears to be awakening. They must jump on a vulnerable BG team, as these games are vital for any further talk about a CCHA top four finish.

2. Do not play down to the level of this opponent. BG will still bite Michigan if they do not show the same desperation as in Saturday’s MSU tilt. There is a fine line between good and mediocre, and Michigan has proven it can be both this season.

3. Hogan simply needs to be solid.

4. Michigan’s defensive play has improved, but the consistent mental lapses this season are proving too much to overcome. Don’t give BG any offensive life, especially in their building. Once back home on the 9th, Michigan must establish that early pressure and use the Yost advantage. This is the whole season, and there is no more dangerous an opponent than one with nothing to lose.


1. If there was EVER a dangerous trap game, it is this one, sandwiched between two very winnable conference games. Michigan will be geared up to play, but they better bring sixty minutes of perfection. Otherwise, go have fun and see what the Badgers will bring in an outdoor environment that won’t be quite like the Kohl Center, but will still have a large, noisy partisan crowd.

2. Hogan will need to stand on his head. Sight lines, glare, wind etc. will all play havoc in this game.

3. Stay healthy, and look to the more important follow up game with BG on Tuesday.

4. The game is only important for pairwise and pride. Getting blown out and embarrassed on national TV will not help, so Michigan should focus on the fundamentals: take care of the puck, defensive coverage, stay out of the box and push the offense when the chance is there- which is just what Wisconsin will do as well.


Michigan 3 Bowling Green 2

Wisconsin 5 Michigan 3

Michigan 3 Bowing Green 1

Written by Yostmeister

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

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