Friday, March 12, 2010
Michigan Hockey: CCHA Tournament -- Michigan at Michigan State -- Preview
Posted at 4:00pm -- 3/12/2010
MICHIGAN VS. MSU HOCKEY PREVIEW
WHAT: CCHA Quarterfinal Series, best 2 out of 3 games
MICHIGAN (21-17-1, 14-13-1) finished 7th in the CCHA
MSU (19-11-6, 14-8-6-2) finished 2nd in the CCHA
Friday & Saturday, 3/12-3/13 7:05 PM Munn Arena
Sunday, 3/14 (if necessary) 7:05 PM Munn Arena
Friday and Saturday games will be seen on Comcast. Sunday’s game-TBD.
Chris Summers Update:
Chris Summers is OUT for this weekend, according to Michael Spath at the Wolverine. Apparently Summers hasn't practiced all week, is badly limping and Berenson told the press he was out.
The Wolverines have the unenviable task of trying to take a series in East Lansing. This is the third CCHA playoff series between the two clubs, with the Spartans winning both of the previous series. Michigan was swept in both series in East Lansing in 1986 and again in 1987. Michigan is 4-7 versus MSU in the CCHA playoffs.
Michigan does hold a (disputed) all time mark of 134-121-18 against the Spartans, including a 42-60-8 record in East Lansing. The Wolverines have won 7 of the past 10 games against MSU, but are 1-3 this season, and are only 1-5-2 at Munn Arena since 2005-06, with that one win coming in 2008-09. Both the Wolverines and Spartans struggled away from home ice this season, with Michigan only sporting a 6-10-0 record - and having lost four straight on the road and six of their past seven games. Michigan beat bottom dwellers WMU, BG and LSSU on the road and picked up a split at OSU. The Spartans secured a rare OT victory at Miami, and only won five other road games with a handful of ties. They defend home ice well, posting an 11-3-4 mark which is one of the reasons they have rebounded this season to a second place finish.
Michigan has reached the semi-finals of the CCHA tourney each season since 1990, and will have to defeat the Spartans to keep that streak alive. MSU saw their own lengthy streak broken last season and would love nothing more than to end the Wolverine’s season.
MSU is led by a foursome of juniors- Corey Tropp led all scorers with a 20-22-42 campaign so far. Wolverine killer Andrew Rowe tallied 15-11-26, and added points in every game against Michigan this season and leads MSU with a +14 rating. Andrew Gazley (9-12-21) and Jeff Petry (4-22-26) also add potency to the Spartan offense. Senior Nick Sucharski (8-10-18), sophomore Dalton Leveille (6-17-23) and freshman Derek Grant (11-18-29) also have been a part of the Spartan attack.
Freshman defenseman and CCHA-All Rookie recipient Tory Krug (3-16-19) adds spunk and toughness on the blueline.
Starting netminder Drew Palmisano carries a 15-9-5 record into the series, with a 2.27 GAA and a .922 save %.
Tale Of The Tape:
Despite the obvious differences in where each team finished and their records, these squads are very similar. Michigan ended their last ten game stretch 5-5, while the Spartans limped into their first round bye at 4-4-2. The Wolverines are 21st in scoring nationally (3.18 GPG) while the Spartans are 24th (3.08 GPG). Similarly, the Wolverines are 8th in defense, only allowing 2.33 GPG, tying them with top ranked Denver. MSU allows 2.42 GPG, good for 12th. Both teams have nominal powerplay numbers, with Michigan ranked 29th (18.4% conversion) versus the Spartans’ 34th (18.0%). Michigan has better penalty killing statistics, holding a 4th best spot (87.3%) where the Spartans are 20th nationally at 83.2%. Don’t be deceived, though. Michigan’s PK is much better at home and has been dismal on the road as of late, with about an 83% kill rate. Last but not least, my favorite stat: penalties. Michigan is tied for 12th worst in the country taking an average of 16.3 minutes per game. The Spartans are 28th at 14.5 minutes per game. Look for the Spartans to enjoy a few more advantages playing at home.
The Wolverines took care of business last weekend, sweeping the LSSU Lakers. Now Michigan will have to do all of their playing on the road to finish the season.
Louie Caporusso has been on fire, posting nine goals and five assists in his last nine games. He holds the team lead with ten multi-point games this season with five in his recent hot streak. He leads the all active Wolverines in CCHA playoff points with a 5-9-14 line. Caporusso has scored eleven goals and ten assists since January 1st.
Carl Hagelin is still the top points leader on the team at 16-25-41, and shares the top goal producer position with Caporusso. Hagelin also was named a recipient of the CCHA All-Academic Team. Chris Brown was recognized for his play this season, being named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team. Matt Rust is finishing strong also, holding a 12-22-34 total and has contributed points in ten of his past thirteen games. Steve Kampfer leads the blue line with 2-16-18 and Chad Langlais leads the defense in goals with four.
Hagelin, Rust and Caporusso lead the team in points against MSU.
Bryan Hogan is most likely out again, which means that Michigan’s goaltending duties will be handled by junior Shawn Hunwick. The back-up goalie from Roseville was solid in last week’s wins and comes into this series with a 3-2 record, a 1.96 GAA and a .915 save %. Since taking over for Hogan, Hunwick is 3-1, has a 1.85 GAA and a .922 save %. Not bad for a kid that had played a total of half a period in two years before this season.
In other injury news, both Chris Summers (knee/thigh) and Scooter Vaughn (shoulder) were dinged up last weekend. Summers is expected to play, while Vaughn’s status is unknown. Scooter looked extremely comfortable filling in after Summers left his defensive position last Saturday due to a “charlie horse”.
Five Reasons Michigan Will Advance:
MSU sat out last weekend and Michigan was able to fine tune their game. Okay, I know this is a stretch, but Michigan may be able to catch MSU and steal the first game if they come out sluggish.
Michigan can find a way to get scoring from their third and fourth lines. Call me crazy, but in a series like this, goals have to come from unexpected sources. I expect MSU to try to shut down the Caporusso line since he has been so hot. It may leave other favorable match-ups on the ice.
Similarly, Michigan MUST stop Rowe and Tropp from beating them. In the last Michigan victory at JLA, Tropp was held off of the board but Rowe wasn’t.
Hunwick must turn into the reincarnation of Marty Turco. I’d settle for Al Montoya, but the bottom line is no easy soft goals- like Red has said, this team doesn’t have the offense to recoup bad goals- double that on the road and against MSU. Grant it the defensive help must be present, but if Hunwick keeps Michigan in the series, they have a chance.
Although not a huge point, but Munn arena is likely to be dead and void due to spring break and because of the Big Ten basketball tourney in Indianapolis.
Five Reasons Michigan Will Advance:
1. MSU sat out last weekend and Michigan was able to fine tune their game. Okay, I know this is a stretch, but Michigan may be able to catch MSU and steal the first game if they come out sluggish.
2. Michigan can find a way to get scoring from their third and fourth lines. Call me crazy, but in a series like this, goals have to come from unexpected sources. I expect MSU to try to shut down the Caporusso line since he has been so hot. It may leave other favorable match-ups on the ice.
3. Similarly, Michigan MUST stop Rowe and Tropp from beating them. In the last Michigan victory at JLA, Tropp was held off of the board but Rowe wasn’t.
4. Hunwick must turn into the reincarnation of Marty Turco. I’d settle for Al Montoya, but the bottom line is no easy soft goals- like Red has said, this team doesn’t have the offense to recoup bad goals- double that on the road and against MSU. Grant it the defensive help must be present, but if Hunwick keeps Michigan in the series, they have a chance.
5. Although not a huge point, but Munn arena is likely to be dead and void due to spring break and because of the Big Ten basketball tourney in Indianapolis.
Five Reasons MSU Should Win This Series:
1. Michigan has won exactly three times at Munn in the past decade. This team has no where near the offensive talent as past teams… with a back-up goalie in net…and you want me to call a series win?
2. MSU has had this series match-up circled for two weeks. You think that they’ll let their in state rivals beat them on home ice… twice?
3. MSU has outscored Michigan 6-3 at Munn this season, with a controversial disallowed goal against Michigan to end the last game. Look for MSU to buckle down into defensive playoff mode and grind out home wins.
4. A Michigan series win, no matter how monumental that would be still doesn’t guarantee an NCAA at-large spot. Michigan can’t all of a sudden play solid, desperate and disciplined hockey. On the other hand, MSU can still hold an at-large position with a series win. A series loss puts their chances on the rocks with no other games to play. That mental edge is enough motivation.
5. Just call it a hunch, but I think Michigan’s mental make up will not allow them to recover from any type of adversity they face this weekend. Frankly, I think the seniors are ready to pack it in and the chemistry divisions and frustration on the team has done its damage. I am hoping the character and Michigan pride proves me wrong. In the end, though the Spartans will take advantage of the mental mistakes that have plagued Michigan all season.
Michigan State 3 Michigan 1
Michigan State 4 Michigan 1
Written by Yostmeister
Go Blue -- Wear Maize!