I’ll come right out with it: this was the worst game I’ve seen Michigan play in three years. Through a solid portion of the first quarter, and most of the second and third quarters, they looked disinterested in playing their game. It seemed like they would rather try to see what creative and cocky shot that could take than run the offense for the best shot.
That said, every team is going to play bad games. The key is being strong enough as a program that playing poorly won’t cost you a win. Being strong enough to have your “off game” result in doubling up the opponent – well, that’s a nice situation to be in.
|Faceoff Wins||8||Faceoff Wins||16|
|Offensive Efficiency||.359||Offensive Efficiency||.167|
So. Michigan was abused on faceoffs. Though Brian Greiner was an adequate 7/15, Edward Ernst won only one of his eight attempts, and Joey Hrusovsky lost his only draw. A lot of the faceoffs that Ernst lost were clean wins by BC, or… uncompetitive draws, and I think it’s clear at this point that he’s a big step down from Greiner at that spot.
The Wolverines rode BC adequately, but not great considering their season-long performance in pestering opponents into turnovers in the clearing game. They also struggled clearing the ball themselves. A big part of that was BC coming to play, with a physical edge to their game, but part of it was simply sloppiness.
So. Michigan was running a possession deficit in this game, something you’ll very rarely see with this program. Despite that, they doubled up the opposition by making the most of their possessions, and buckling down in crunch time.
As mentioned above, Brian Greiner is the starting faceoff specialist. He didn’t cover himself in glory either, but he is the best I’ve seen in games at controlling where the ball will go. The wing play in picking up GBs wasn’t as good in this game as it usually is, but (this will be a recurring theme) I credit that more to Boston College playing physically and working for every ball than any serious failing by Yealy and Asperheim.
Speaking of which, Boston College was clearly the hungrier team in this game. In the first quarter, Michigan was trying no-look shots (though that stopped in a hurry, of course), and picking up every ground ball with one hand, while the Eagles were scrapping and sticking to fundamentals as much as possible. It was almost like a late-era Carr football team, where Michigan thought playing and beating lesser competition had become routine, or even banal. Coach Paul on that:
“Well we won, and I’ll take that. I thought Boston College played veryhard, they worked as hard as any team we’ve played this year. That showed in groundballs andthey dominated faceoffs which has only happened twice this year and that made a difference in the game.”
That also manifested itself in penalties. Though the full statistics haven’t been uploaded to the official site yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wolverines committed as many penalties as they have in their previous worst 2 games combined. It was that sloppy of a game, and a serious outlier in that respect.
That said, I was sitting near UCSB’s team, and at the end of the game, they were all saying “this team is nothing, we can beat this team tomorrow,” and all variety of such phrases. If they think the Michigan team from last night is going to show up two games in a row, they’re in for a rude awakening. I think Michigan’s players are aware that last night’s performance was not an adequate representation of Michigan Lacrosse, and they’ll come out with a little more fire against the Gauchos.
In the same vein, a couple Boston College parents (who were very nice all game, I don’t want to imply that they were anything but a class act) were talking about how BC was much closer than the final score implied. If it was truly a “three-goal game,” it’s unlikely that the losing team never draws any CLOSER than three goals after the score is 2-0. I’m just sayin’.
The standard goalie swap happened at halftime. Stone got the start, and Fowler played after the break. Stone started the game playing very well, but when his defense sold him out on a couple goals, he seemed to lose a bit of confidence and not play quite as well. He still made some key stops late in the half, but didn’t play his best game. I thought Fowler played quite well. Usually, I think he’s a little worse in the actual goalkeeping department and better on clears, but he was solid between the pipes. He only gave up three goals, and one of them came on a broken ride, so he wasn’t even in net at the time (and it’s hard to blame him for that one).
Offensively, Thomas Paras (4-1-5) and Chad Carroll (1-3-4) led the way, and it’s always fun to point out goals for the long-pole players. Sophomore JD Johnson got one, and senior LSM Matt Asperheim cam close a couple times.
First, my poorly-shot video of Alex Vasileff’s goal off the pipe:
And a mini photo gallery:
Few pictures, because I’m too busy watching the game to worry about snapshots.
UC-Santa Barbara, tonight at 7Pm in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.