I’m still trying to catch my breath after Sunday’s nail-biter in Saline to determine the CCLA Champion. Michigan built a lead a couple different times, but State roared back to draw even at 10. There was drama, heartbreak,
romance, and in the end, the maize-and-blue completed their 3rd undefeated regular season in 4 years.
On to the…
From the official recap, your tempo-free breakdown:
|Faceoff Wins||18||Faceoff Wins||7|
|Offensive Efficiency||.183||Offensive Efficiency||.238|
The first thing that jumps out about this game is the pace. It was a faaaaaaast one, even compared to last time these teams played, which was no slugfest itself. Watching the game, that pace was definitely evident, as it felt up-and-down throughout, even during the scoreless (yet still super-intense) fourth quarter.
On faceoffs, I think Brian Greiner has established himself as a very good, but not elite player. The best FOGOs in the MCLA are still going to have good days against him, but everyone else is going to really struggle. Alas, more on Greiner (a not-so-happy note) later.
The efficiency is striking to me as well. Of course, winning a 1-goal game while dominating possessions is going to result in a lesser efficiency number, and Michigan wasn’t trying to score toward the end of the game, but rather run down the clock. Still, that’s a weak offensive performance, and if Michigan’s O hadn’t been so stagnant in the second half, State wouldn’t have even been close.
Trevor Yealy scored 5 goals and had an assist(!, just his fifth on the year), to lead the Wolverines. Chad Carroll added a hat trick and an assist, while Alex Vasileff and Doug Bryant each had a goal and an assist. For the first time this season, Thomas Paras was kept off the scoreboard.
The Spartans broke Michigan’s 10-man ride a few times in the second half, scoring 2 goals on looooong shots (and another as Fowler barely got back into the cage), and also finding outside netting a third time. I know the Wolverines are comfortable with Andrew Fowler playing outside the net on the ride, but it was definitely exploited on this day.
Dan Witt didn’t play for Michigan State. He’s one of their most productive players, and was in-uniform on the sidelines (but with no helmet). It’s interesting to wonder whether his presence would have changed things.
As for the Greiner incident. My understanding of what happened is that Greiner was coming off the field after a faceoff win, and a Spartan standing near the substitution box didn’t get his stick out of the way (the typical stuff you see that people generally get away with). Greiner’s reaction was to leave the box and go into State’s bench area, starting a shoving/punching/melee/fiasco with several members of both teams involved. What the State player didn’t certainly isn’t cool, but Greiner’s reaction was unacceptable from my perspective. He was assessed with a 1-minute non-releasable penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.
The Wolverines and Spartans are on opposite sides of the MCLA Tournament bracket, so they’d both have to reach the finals in order for a third matchup of the season.
Both squads head to the MCLA National Tournament in Denver, starting next Tuesday. Michigan faces Lindenwood at 4PM Mountain Time, and State takes on Florida State at 7PM. I assume both games will stream on collegelax.tv. I’ll have much, much, much more preview content through the course of this week and next.