The Wolverines passed part one of their midterm exam with flying colors last night, running out to a 9-1 lead on #2 Colorado State en route to an easy 11-3 win. Of course, it means nothing if they don’t finish the deed tonight against #3 Arizona State.
I live-blogged the game for collegelax, so if you care to read a bit of play-by-play or get a feel for how the game went down, you can check it out. Unfortunately, that means I was too busy to snap many photos, so you’ll have to wait for Clark Bell’s gallery to get some images of the game.
|Faceoff Wins||7||Faceoff Wins||11|
|Offensive Efficiency||.282||Offensive Efficiency||.094|
There was a bit of sloppy play by both teams leading to empty possessions, but I’d actually say this was a bit slower a game than the stats seem to indicate outside of some stretches in the third quarter.
Michigan dominated possession in the first half, winning 5 of 10 faceoffs and clearing at a 10/12 rate while riding CSU to 4/8 totals. However, The Rams were much more successful in the second half in getting and holding onto the ball after the break, with 20 of their 34 possessions coming after halftime.
That’s mostly due to improvement on faceoffs, even though Brian Greiner took all 18 draws for the Wolverines. The Rams were also near-perfect on clears in the second half, with 10/11 totals. In part, that’s thanks to a safer riding strategy employed by Michigan with a hefty lead.
At the end of the day though, possessions don’t win games: goals do. The Wolverines connected with twine on 28% of their possessions with the ball, and Colorado State capitalized on fewer than a tenth of their own.
Offensively, Michigan was led by Chad Carroll’s 2 goal and 2 assist, and Joey Hrusovsky’s 3 goals and 1 assist, for 4 points apiece. The Wolverines also got a hat trick from Thomas Paras, as he opened the game with a personal 3-0 run. Senior Captain Trevor Yealy was not to be held off the final scoresheet, and he put in the Wolverines’ 10th goal of the day to maintain his streak of scoring in every game this year (he also had an assist). He was last prevented from scoring in the 2010 MCLA semifinals against Chapman. Ryan Dutton-O’Hara put in 2 goals to close out multi-point Wolverines.
Michigan executed their standard halftime goalie switch, and both keepers played excellently. If Mark Stone doesn’t make 3 or 4 point-blank saves in the first half, this could have easily been a competitive game into the second half. If Andrew Fowler doesn’t do the same in the second (especially on one very athletic play that started away form the cage on a 10-man ride), it’s possible CSU could have gotten back into the game, or at least made it respectable. Stone also CRUSHED a CSU midfielder out of bounds on a 10-man ride to get possession for the Wolverines.
This doesn’t come across in sheer numbers of possessions, but Michigan dominated time of possession, earning several stall warnings (including a few times in the first half), whereas Colorado State would get one quick shot, and the Wolverines would head back up the field. Just as often, the Rams would dodge and re-dodge, never even get a shot off, and turn it over.
Michigan filtered subs in throughout the third quarter, and ended the game with very few starters on the field. That’s probably a good idea with Arizona State yet to come tonight. One Wolverine player did get injured – a defensive midfielder – but I didn’t notice when it happened, and Coach Paul didn’t mention a name in the game recap.
Another day, another top-3 opponent. Arizona State will enter Oosterbaan Fieldhouse with dreams of knocking off #1 Michigan. I previewed the game on Thursday, and will once again be live-blogging the event for collegelax.us.
As long as the Wolverines can maintain intensity for 2 straight games, they’ve shown they can compete (or even be so good that the game is non-competitive) against top competition. It’s up to Arizona State to play a flawless game and earn the win.