What a difference a day makes. On Friday, the Michigan team came out full of energy in the first period but couldn’t manage to find the net. After taking a penalty late in the first period, UNH scored on the power play after Nagelvoort went down and couldn’t quite corral the loose puck which eventually was banged into the net with less than a minute to go in the period. Michigan came out in the second, UNH scored a couple more goals, and all the energy that Michigan came into the game with seemed to flow out. The third period seemed to degrade into a lot of individual efforts to score, rather than teamwork, and only a late goal saved the game from being a shutout with a final tally of 5-1.
On Saturday, the start was similar. Michigan came out with their game faces on and took the game to UNH, but there was no score after 1 period. Early in the second, Michigan broke through for 2 goals, and then held off UNH late to win 2-1.
What was the difference between the two games, well honestly, not a whole lot. A couple of big factors. First, instead of giving up a weak powerplay goal to start with a deficit, Michigan scored the first goal, and it was huge for momentum, with the second goal coming quickly. This team needs to the positive momentum and I believe finding a way to score first will be important. Second, Racine found a way to make saves that the team needed. This isn’t to say he played flawlessly, or even better overall than Nagelvoort, but in key situations he made a stop where on the previous night a goal might have gone in. Stopping one extra goal on Friday wouldn’t have won the game, on Saturday it did.
Things the team needs to improve on:
- The team still needs to tidy up the defensive lapses. Everyone must have a defensive mindset and make sure that we don’t hang the goalies out to dry. They are good goalies but they aren’t yet great goalies and they aren’t going to win the game by themselves. They need help.
- The goalies still need to make key stops. Until the scoring machine gets going, the goalies will have to come up big to make key stops when the opportunity arises.
- We must have better traffic in front of the net. Check out the video of the game or even look at some of the pictures below. All do often there is no traffic in front of the net and no one there to make a deflection or pick up a rebound. Almost all of our goals this year have come off of deflections or rebounds, or the very least a big screen. At Ferris, Motte notched his goals in front of the net. We are going to have to concentrate on that kind of traffic.
Energy and momentum are going to be important for this team, so we need all of the crowd support we can get! Be there! Be Loud! Support your team! Cheer along with the @childrenofyost.
And now, what you’ve been waiting for…at least I hope. Here are my pictures from this weekend. Please remember that if you would like to use these pictures I’m asking that you contact me first. I’m not placing watermarks on them, and I am making full size images available. I can be contacted on twitter using @jfk81 if you would like to use some of my images. Hope you enjoy and Go Blue!