Friday, February 12, 2010

Michigan Hockey: Michigan at Nebraska-Omaha -- Preview


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

UNO Vs. Michigan Wolverines Hockey Preview

#19 MICHIGAN (17-13-1, 12-9-1-1) 4th in the CCHA
University of Nebraska-Omaha (14-12-6, 10-11-3-2) T5th in the CCHA
Friday 2/12, 8:05 pm EST Saturday 2/13, 8:05 pm EST, Qwest Center, Omaha, Ne.
Television: CBS College Sports both nights.

UNO Maverick History:

Michigan and UNO began play back in the 1999-00 season, when the CCHA added the Mavericks to the conference. The Wolverines enjoy a 24-4-3 all time record against UNO. UNO has a pair of victories in Omaha, and a signature 7-4 upset win over Michigan in the 2000 CCHA semi-final match up at JLA as well as a 2-1 win in the second of three games the teams played during the 2003-04 second round CCHA playoffs at Yost.

UNO has never won a CCHA regular season or playoff championship and will exit the CCHA after this season to join the WCHA along with Bemidji State. Ironically, UNO shares their Maverick name with fellow WCHA and long time rival, Minnesota State. Legendary coach Dean Blais (North Dakota) leads the Mavericks this season after long time coach Kemp stepped down to take on assistant A.D. duties.

That Ain’t Bull:

1) Michigan is 6-3-1 in their last ten games, while UNO is 5-4-1.

2) The Wolverines are 6-7-0 on the road. The Mavericks are 11-2-2 at home- which is probably the only reason that they are tied for 5th place in the league standings. They are a much better team at home.

3) Michigan enjoys a 9-2-3 mark in Omaha, with one of those wins coming in OT. They have currently won eight straight against UNO and are 3-1-1 in their last four road games at UNO.

4) Michigan is 24th in the country in scoring average, potting 3.10 goals per game (GPG.) UNO is 34th at 2.84 GPG.

5) The Wolverines are 5th in goals against, at 2.23 GPG. The Mavs are 31st in the country at 2.84 GPG.

6) Michigan’s PP ranks 21st at 19.4% conversion, while the Mavs rank 28th at 18.5%. The Maize and Blue’s PK is 5th at 87.8%, while UNO’s is 22nd at 83.2%.

7) Michigan ranks 11th worst in penalty minutes at 16.6 per game. UNO is 36th at 13.6 minutes, although both teams usually get more physical in Omaha, based on history.

Finding the (Open) Range:

UNO is a well balanced team featuring seven seniors. Their unquestioned leader on the ice is senior defenseman Eddie Del Grosso, who is first in points with a 5-17-22 line. The scoring is spread evenly across three lines, with senior Jeric Agosta emerging as the top forward with a 14-7-21 contribution. Junior Rich Purslow has chipped in with 11-10-21, tied with sophomore John Kemp’s 4-17-21. Junior Joey Martin has added 7-12-19; Junior Matt Ambrosz and sophomore Alex Hudson have both contributed 9-9-18. Rounding out the offense is senior (and Dearborn, Mi. native) Nick Fanto at 8-9-17. Freshman Terry Broadhurst was just named CCHA POTM for his outstanding offensive efforts. He has 9-8-17 on the year. Omaha rolls four lines and are particularly aggressive at home, where their goals and penalty minutes both increase. They would rather try to skate with their opponents and push the offense then sit back and play a tight checking game- although they have proven this season against Alaska that they can do that also.

The one area that Michigan may be able to exploit is the Maverick’s erratic goaltending. Redshirt Freshman John Faulkner has taken most of the starts and sports a10-8-4 record with a 2.56 GAA and a .903 Sv.%. Back up (senior) Jeremie Dupont is 4-4-2 with a 3.14 GAA and a .882 Sv.%. Both have struggled to find consistency, playing phenomenal one night, only to allow soft goals the next.

Omaha is looking to sweep Michigan for the very first time in their history- and will have this one last home weekend to do it prior to finishing their conference season at Miami. These are critical games for both teams, considering that both are on the outside looking in at the top 16 PWR positions for NCAA consideration and both teams are fighting for a very important top four conference finish, giving those teams a first round conference tourney bye.

Wolverine Notes:

Carl Hagelin (13-20-33) added three more points to his team leading goals and points count this past three games against BG and Wisconsin. Matt Rust (10-17-27) also has reached a career high in points, while Chris Brown (11-12-23) leads the freshmen scoring. Louie Caporusso has bolstered the offense with his revival of late, adding 9-14-23 on the season. Brian Lebler has also reached a career high in goals (10) and points (17). Steve Kampfer continues to lead the blue line offense with 1-14-15.

Brian Hogan is 17-12-1 now, with a 2.19 GAA and a .905 Sv.%. He recorded his fourth shutout of the season against BG. He was sound in both victories this past week, and could only be faulted for the first goal at Wisconsin.

Michigan is 7-2-1 since January 1st, and is 15-2 when they score the first goal- and is a remarkable 13-0 when holding a first period lead. The Wolverines are also 13-3 when holding their opponents to less than 2 goals a game, but are 0-6 when they allow two or more PPG’s per game.

Since being put together at the GLI, the top line of Hagelin-Rust and Lynch have tallied 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points. Lynch has added 3-5-8 in that time.

A sweep, although a tall task, could vault Michigan into a third place tie depending on how Ferris State does in their series at LSSU. MSU is idle this weekend, so Michigan could jump into a tie with the Spartans.

Congratulations to our own legendary coach Red Berenson, as he won his 600th career game this past Tuesday against BG. He is now in sole ownership of 6th place in all time coach’s victories.

This week’s keys to the match up:

1) Michigan must contain UNO’s high energy at their building by playing a steady defensive style.

2) Michigan will need to avoid getting caught up emotionally in the game and avoid defensive lapses since UNO has proven that they can score from any of their three top lines.

3) Michigan must be able to use their speed to counterattack. UNO will likely try to run ‘n gun, which plays into Michigan’s strength.

4) Michigan must get production from all four lines. UNO is very balanced and can score at any point.

5) Bryan Hogan must outplay his counterparts. If Michigan can take four or five points this weekend, they will be in a position to secure a top four conference spot.

Prediction:

Friday:
Michigan 3 UNO 2 (OT)

Saturday:
UNO 3 Michigan 3 (UNO wins shootout, 2-1)

Written by Yostmeister

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Big weekend for the hockey program and a must win for them as well.

Tim

Yostmeister said...

Well, Tim-

They just lost any hope for an at large NCAA berth with their sloppy, awful defensive performance last night. This team's mental discipline has cost them all season. Still, they could go win their last five and have a chance in the CCHA tourney to improve their PWR, but I think it is too little, too late.

ErocWolverine said...

The biggest problem I have is this team cannot get on a roll. They win one game and dominate the other team ... and then the next night they flop so (IMO) it will be tough for this team to get on a roll and click off a lot of wins in a row.

Another thing if they keep this up they will lose the bye they might get being one of the first 4 teams in the CCHA and I think that is huge.

They need to get things going and get on a roll and somehow make it to Detroit and beat probable champ Miami to make sure they get into the NCAA tournament.

Anonymous said...

Another terrible night for the hockey program.

CCHA tournament or bust and looks like this team could end Red's 19 year streak for the NCAA tournament.

Cory

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