Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nanooks Look To Keep Rolling, and Over Michigan

I really don't like Michigan. If you've read my blog for long enough, this is nothing new.The best part is, the Wolverines are falling apart right now. After starting very well at 6-1-1, they have since gone 1-6-1 and have lost all of their last 4 games, which have all been at home. So much for a home ice advantage at Yost. A few weeks ago, fifth-year senior Shawn Hunwick found himself hitting the showers early after blowing his lid during a game against Northern Michigan in late October. He wasn't the only one as the story goes, they say Luke Moffat started the whole thing, but the story here was Hunwick erupting after getting nudged when Moffatt hunted Cherniwchan. Hunwick went flying, went raging and went home. Video of the event is here below.

The Nanooks have a tough series ahead of them though. Even though Michigan is on a bit of a slump, you can bet they're going to be gunning for points. The Nanooks now trail Michigan by just a single point after the shutout sweep of Bowling Green last weekend, and with the final series of the first half of the season upon us, the Nanooks need to squeeze every point from Michigan that they can.

Coming into this series, the Nanooks have split four out of the last five weekend meetings with UM. Generally speaking, history shows that Nanooks win Friday, and Wolverines win Saturday but I'm hoping for a much different outcome. With the way each of these two teams have been playing, I'm hoping for a better fare for the 'Nooks. Coming into Bowling Green, the Nanooks have started to gain some steam, building more offensive pressure and crashing the net, and keeping the puck out of the defensive zone.

Michigan however has been struggling uncharacteristically, but I think part of that comes with their choices with the puck. It seems that they've turned in to a shoot-first kind of team, forcing the shot on a bad angle and missing the mark. Against Northeastern, UM put up 34 shots on goal to the Huskies' 22 in a losing effort. Michigan's shots were mostly forced to the outside. Now whether they missed their centering man, or were just missing the rebound I don't know, but Northeastern's Chris Rawlings sure appreciated it. Although he had to make a few big stops, especially late, but for the most part the saves seemed easy.

AJ Treais and Lindsay Sparks are sitting atop a roster of very balanced scorers for the Wolverines. 11 players have at least 9 points, with Treais and Sparks leading with 13. With a few exceptions, it's pretty even between goals and assists, too. That's pretty impressive, and shows that really everyone is contributing. I like seeing that, I really do. And with the 4th highest scoring offense in the country, it goes to show how all of the Nanooks lines are going to have to stay sharp and up to the task on both ends of the ice. Draft picks also stand out, but that superfluous detail really doesn't matter much.

If you'd like some more to read as well, check out USCHO's Paula Weston and her article featuring an interview with Scott Greenham. Watch for the game day post tomorrow. Go Nooks!

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