Wolverines Beat Bentley As Tuneup For CCHA Opener With Miami

In their last non-conference game before the start of the regular season, Michigan got off to another slow start against the visiting Bentley Falcons.  The Wolverines trailed 1-0 after the first period after giving up a relatively soft goal about halfway through the first period.  Although overall I’m optimistic about the goaltending, we should really know something after this weekends games with Miami.  Bentley didn’t have any really strong goals against the Wolverines, but did manage to tally a soft goal and a couple of rebounds.  Racine, who was in net after his win over RIT didn’t show anything in particular that would say he is ready to take over the starting reins.  I still expect to see both Rutledge and Racine this weekend in the series vs. Miami.

The defense seemed more in sync this week, even with the loss of Merrill and Clare.  In a lot of ways Racine depended on his defense to help clear the big rebounds he was leaving to the walls and our “D” seemed very much up to the task.  As in other areas, I think the Defense will have a big test with Miami this week, but this part of the game seems solid!While I didn’t get to ask them personally, I know both Jack Johnson and Matt Hunwick were in the crowd and seemed to be enjoying the game.  I can only imagine that they might have wanted to hit the locker room and suit up!  See pictures below.

I’d say that 6 goals was a great offensive effort, and in fact it probably was.  But you want to score more goals on 53 shots than that.  This team is definitely not selfish.  They share the puck well, sometimes too well in the offensive zone.  What do I mean?  Well sometimes that extra pass is just perfect, but if you tack on 1 or 2 more extra passes, you lose the advantage and end up with a poor shot.  That seemed to happen from time to time throughout the night.

Bentley was a test, and we passed, but in retrospect, Bentley was probably just a practice test when compared to Miami.  Let’s give some general grades to the team as we head into the weekend.

  • Offense:  B+, Solid efforts, plenty of goals on the board, need to hit the empty nets when presented with them.
  • Defense:  B+, Also solid efforts, good job clearing the puck for the most part, have to watch turnovers in the defensive zone.
  • Power Play:  C, Nothing spectacular here against Bentley, although we have looked decent overall.  Didn’t generate scoring chances during a long 5-3 with only 4 shots on goal.
  • Penalty Kill:  A-, Bentley didn’t manage a shot on goal in their one Powerplay opportunity.  In fact, I don’t believe they were even in the offensive zone with possession of the puck for more than a few seconds.
  • Goalies:  C,  It’s hard to fault a win, and the previous play of the goalies hasn’t been bad.  But we’re going to need a better effort against Miami.

And now that I’m done rambling, here are some shots I took during the Bentley game.  I even had a chance to take a few shots from down in the Northeast corner.  I hope you enjoy them.  See you next week after the Miami series.  Go Blue!

 

Chiasson and Di Giuseppe chat before the game.

The teams line up for the National Anthem (the flag is now directly over my head)

It’s the huddle before the game (what do they say in there?

Another look at Merrill’s Neck Brace.

A bad view, but the @childrenofyost went crazy when this Zamboni Rider took off his shoe. They couldn’t however convince him to throw it.

The peewees had a shootout during the 1st intermission. Here a future wolverine skates in on net.

A future Wolverine Goaltender makes a stop in the peewee shootout.

Guptill skates in for a backhand chance.

Jack Johnson and @yostusher pose between periods.

Trying not to feel like paparazzi, but took this quick shot of “Tim Miller’s dad”, Jack Johnson, Matt Hunwick and longshot guess… Matt’s wife.

Kevin Lynch accepts a pass at center ice.

Always like to see the goal light lit! We want mooooore goals!

Racine heads back to the crease after the goal celebration.

Andrew Copp is happy after scoring his first career goal.

Serville defends the blue line as a Falcon heads into the zone.

It’s a 6-3 final as the video board shows Guptill heading in to congratulate Racine.

Treais heads out the tunnel with a big smile to cheers of “AJ AJ AJ” from the young crowd.

#3 Wolverines Dominate the 3rd to Earn a Series Split

The Wolverines performance on Friday night seemed familiar to the fans in the stands.  I heard more than once that the game seemed to be a duplicate of the Thursday night collapse where RIT came back to take an overtime victory from a sloppy Michigan team.  In the third period though the team stepped on the gas and put this one away.  Seven goals scored by seven different players was the difference in this game.  Unlike Thursday night where only 3 Michigan players (Deblois, Sparks and T. Lynch) were on the positive side of the +/- rating at +2, on Friday night only Clare would come out with a negative rating and he left the game in the 3rd period with an apparent injury to his right arm.  He was holding it against his body like it was in a sling when he left the ice and reports are that he left the building with his arm actually in a sling.

Although I didn’t get to see the game on Thursday night and was watching twitter and game tracker updates for details on the game, it seemed to me that the two biggest improvements on the night were that they took fewer penalties (and RIT took a bunch), and they had fewer turnovers in their own end.  These two areas are going to need to continue to be areas of emphasis for this team.  Compared to a year ago I see a lot more offensive capability from this team, and I think that scoring goals (which I believe was a question mark before the season) is not going to be an issue.

What looked to be a solid defensive core is already starting to be hit with the injury bug.  With  Merrill likely out for several weeks and now Clare having an injury, what was once a glut of good defensemen is looking a little thinner.  We’re in better shape than we were last year by a lot, but we are going to need steady performances out of defensive pairings and hope that we can squash the injury bug.

In my last post I mentioned wanting to write about PDG.  I’ve tagged him as my key forward for this year.  As much as I like the things I’ve seen out of Guptill, Moffie and Treais, I think that Di Giuseppe is the guy who is going to be the key scorer for this team.   If my commentary actually meant any real pressure, it might mean that I was putting a lot of pressure on one guy on this team.  Still I think he is going to be one of the key leaders on this team.  We’ll keep an eye on PDG in the weeks ahead.  I’m excited about the offensive prospects for him and for the team.

In goal, I thought Racine was steady.  He wasn’t spectacular and he gave up a lot of rebounds.  He also seemed to lose sight of the puck at times, and the defense helped him out.  I didn’t get to see Rutledge against RIT, but I did see him for a period against Windsor and thought that he just seemed a bit nervous in the crease.  I think both of these guys with a little seasoning are going to be good goalies for the team.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Friday/Saturday platoon from these guys at least for a few weeks until Red can see how they actually perform in game situations.  In the meantime the defense will have to clear away the rebounds and make sure we don’t give up soft goals.

Now for a few pictures from Section 25.

The Huddle before the game.

Merrill in his neck brace and a few of the other scratches

Racine congratulates Moffat and his line on a goal.

Sinelli on a breakway, where he just missed notching a goal!

@ChildrenofYost during the William Tell Overture

Kevin Clare heads off the ice with an injury

Coaches never look happy, even after a win.

I like the salute at center Ice. I just want them to be more deliberate about it.

Moffie hamming it up for the camera as they leave the ice.

Deblois, Chiasson and Treais leaving the ice with smiles and a win.