Friday, February 26, 2010
Michigan Hockey: Notre Dame vs. Michigan -- Preview
Posted at 8:00am -- 2/26/2010
Sorry did not get this put up in time for Thursday's night game. I was not home or around when Yost sent the preview. Sorry guys.
NOTRE DAME / WOLVERINES HOCKEY PREVIEW
MICHIGAN (18-16-1, 13-12-1) 7th in the CCHA
NOTRE DAME (12-14-8, 8-11-7-2) 10th in the CCHA
Thursday, 2/25 7:35 pm Yost Arena
Saturday, 2/27 7:05 pm Joyce Center, South Bend, Ind.
Both games will be seen on TV: FSN (Thursday) and BTN (Saturday).
Closing the season:
Michigan and Notre Dame meet for the final time in the regular season after splitting two earlier games in December. Both teams have had disappointing seasons and are looking to end on a high note. Notre Dame needs a sweep (and a combination of an OSU and LSSU sweep by their opponents this weekend) to move up into a first round home playoff spot- 8th or higher- or they will be done playing in front of their fans on Saturday.
Michigan’s scenario (see my last recap for their possibilities) is simple: win both games and hope that NMU loses, or they will be playing in the first round. Lose both games and they could also slip to a position that will put them on the road for the entire CCHA playoffs.
Charting the Blue and Gold:
The Irish have been banged up all season, but to a man they will tell you that their problems lie much deeper than that. Rumors of locker room in fighting, early departure talk, as well as disputes with coaching, have derailed a very talented team. Nonetheless, Notre Dame will take to Yost on Thursday with the idea to further nick one of its fiercest rivals.
Calle Ridderwall leads the Irish offensive charge with 17-8-25. Ryan Thang 9-11-20) and defenseman Kyle Lawson (4-18-22) are dangerous every time they are on the ice.
Two other Irish defensemen have chipped in with over 17 points each.
Mike Johnson is still anchoring the goaltending, holding a 9-10-5 record, a 2.36 GAA and a .919 Sv. %.
Notre Dame is still solid defensively, giving up an average of 2.47 GPG (11th), while scoring an anemic 2.41 GPG (49th). Their special teams are a mirror image: the PP is converting at an 18.6% clip, while the PK is stopping opponents 87.2% of the time, good for 5th in the country.
From what I have been able to glean from Irish Nation, the team has a glass jaw right now due to their internal issues, and may just be as happy as the Wolverines are to put this season to bed.
Thursday marks the final home game for five U-M seniors: Captain Chris Summers, Steve Kampfer, Brian Lebler, Anthony Ciraulo and Eric Elmblad. On behalf of GBMW, I wish all of these gentlemen good luck in the future and thank them for their efforts during their career at Michigan.
First, though, there is a set of games to be played against the Irish and then… who knows.
Michigan comes into this weekend’s action 27th in the country in scoring (3.06 GPG) and 9th in goals against (2.40). They are right behind the Irish in penalty killing, with an 87% rate, good for 6th. Their PP is converting at 18.8%, also good for 27th. Carl Hagelin leads the team with 14-23-37. Matt Rust follows with 10-20-30 and Louie Caporusso has crept up to 11-17-28. Chris Brown is still one of the freshmen scoring leaders, putting together 12-12-24. Steve Kampfer is tops on the blue line at 2-15-17.
Brian Hogan is 18-15-1 with a 2.34 GAA and an even .900 Sv.%.
This week’s keys to the match up:
1. Michigan must show a little patience with the Irish. Get on top early at Yost and they may fold up. Of course, since both teams are very similar defensively, that will prove to be difficult.
2. Stop turning the puck over in the neutral and defensive zone. The Irish will thrive on counterattacking.
3. Stop Ridderwall and you stop the Irish. But don’t let their defense pinch in and beat you, either.
4. Use Senior Night to the Wolverine’s advantage- get the crowd into it early. It may be the team’s last chance at home.
5. Conversely, go play a complete road game and redeem what little value this season has left.
Notre Dame 1
Notre Dame 3
Written by Yostmeister
Go Blue -- Wear Maize!