Saturday, December 13, 2014

Michigan Preview

The Eagles will close out the 2014 year with a huge non-conference matchup tonight @ Kelley Rink vs the University of Michigan Wolverines. After a bit of rough start to the season, Michigan righted the ship with four straight wins, albeit against RPI, Ohio State, and a surprisingly strong Penn State team. Perhaps the most notable result for UM this season and one that BC fans would be shocked by is their 8-4 drubbing of Lowell at Tsongas Arena. Not only are they one of just two teams to beat UML at home this year, I bet they're probably the first and only team to post that kind of number vs a Norm Bazin coached team. In any game, eight goals is absurd but against Lowell? That's unheard of. Michigan followed that win up with a hard fought loss the next night @ Boston University.

This will be a game of two teams that have pretty different styles of winning hockey games. Michigan has a lot of high powered, highly skilled forwards led by first round draft picks JT Compher and Dylan Larkin. Compher hasn't produced quiet as much as he was at this point last season but senior Zach Hyman and junior captain Andrew Copp have picked up their games and are tied for the team lead in goals with 7. Here is a look at Michigan's projected forward lineup.

Tyler Motte*- Alex Copp*- Tony Calderone
Alex Kile- Dylan Larkin*- Zach Hyman*
Max Stuart- JT Compher*- Boo Nieves*
Dexter Dancs-Travis Lynch-Justin Selman

As you can probably tell with the six NHL draft picks, these guys are quick and talented up front. They are 2nd in the country with a 4.07 goals per game average, 4th in the country in shots per game, and 1st in the country in points per game. So, you may be asking, how are they not the #1 team in the country? Well, they struggle in the defensive end especially after the departure of senior leader Mac Bennett a season ago. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Wolverines are 41st in goals allowed per game (2.93), they're 29th in the country in shots on goal against per game (29.43), and 39th in opponent's power play percentage (19%). Leading the way on the blue line for Michigan has been sophomore Michael Downing but other than him, they don't have anyone that really jumps out at you like they have in the past (Trouba, Merrill).

We all know it's been a tough first half in a lot of areas but a win tonight would be absolutely crucial for BC's pairwise standing. The Big Ten is very weak this year outside of Minnesota, Michigan and perhaps Penn State so we can assume that Michigan is going to light it up in league play and will most likely have a strong case for an NCAA tournament bid in March. Other than Denver, the Eagles are missing quality non-conference wins that would help boost their pairwise numbers but a win vs what I consider a very strong Maize and Blue squad would go a long way in helping the cause. If they can find a way to win this game and get healthy and pray for no injuries in the WJC, they'll be fine heading into trophy season because they still have a ton of opportunities for quality wins vs some top end opponents. At one point or another, we are going to need to start making a case for the NCAA tournament and we all know that Coach York will get them going eventually but sooner rather than later would be huge.

On a positive note- Miles Wood recorded three points in the biggest prep game of the season last night as Nobles beat Dexter 4-1. If you haven't seen this kid play, please go do so. It will give you a lot of hope.

Go Eagles.

1 comment:

  1. Compher was a 2nd round pick in the 2013 draft, 35th overall.