This game was a monumental disappointment. After establishing themselves as contenders for the MAAC title with a win over Marist last weekend, the Titans laid an egg against a bad Manhattan team. Fortunately for them, as long as they keep on winning, the conference championship’s one-seed is in reach.
From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:
|Faceoff Wins||6||Faceoff Wins||12|
|Offensive Efficiency||.162||Offensive Efficiency||.190|
In a non-shocking turn of events, the Titans were outperformed on faceoffs. They were also a little bit worse on the clear, leading to a slight possession deficit for the day. In an average-paced game, a deficit of five possessions is not that serious.
What is serious is that offensive efficiency number. Woof. There are plenty of explanations for that – windy, rainy, weather and oh yeah not having the team’s primary offensive threat on the field. No matter what, you aren’t going to win a whole lot of games with an efficiency mark under .200. Manhattan will surely take it.
Ah, the mitigating factors. Joel Matthews didn’t play for the Titans (for as-yet undisclosed reasons, as far as I can tell). Although Shayne Adams was often able to get it done as a one-man show last year, the offense has been very reliant on Matthews – even after missing Saturday, he has scored or assisted on nearly 40% of Detroit’s goals – and missing him from the lineup was a blow.
The weather was also a mitigating factor, albeit one that affected both teams. It was a crummy day out, with plenty of wind if the twitters are to be believed. Detroit actually didn’t commit as many turnovers as Manhattan did, but it’s clear they were having a tough time finding their rhythm.
Shayne Adams and Scott Harris were the only Titans with multi-point outputs, scoring three goals and two assists, respectively. Adams took 10 shots to get there, and also committed four turnovers on the day. While he carried the team last year, it’s clear he’s far more effective with Matthews in the lineup.
Defensively, Jordan Houtby caused five turnovers and picked up seven ground balls. John Dwyer had three and two, while Jamie Hebden caused two turnovers and picked up four GBs.
A.J. Levell made 13 saves while allowing eight goals. Manhattan’s Rich Akapnitis made 19 saves while allowing six goals, but it’s unclear whether his stronger performance is a credit to himself or a subpar effort from the Detroit offense.
On faceoffs, both Brandon Davenport (3/10) and Tyler Corcoran (3/8) struggled. That’s going to be a recurring theme for this Detroit team, and until they get better faceoff play, they’re at risk of running big possession deficits in pretty much any game. Unless they can counter that with strong play in the settled offensive and defensive sets, there’s a loss or two to be had.
I might be belaboring a point here, but it is important to note how disappointing this loss was. The best team in the MAAC should not lose to the second-worst team in the MAAC (although Manhattan has now moved up to No. 4 in the conference on Laxpower after the win). They especially should not lose to a team that they pummeled 13-7 last year. Taking out a bit of anger on fellow conference front-runner Siena this weekend is the only way to rectify the situation.
Michigan returns home to take on an up-and-down Delaware squad on Saturday at 1 p.m inside Michigan Stadium. The Blue Hens are just 3-7, but that includes a blowout win over Detroit and a couple big wins over Bucknell (on the road in overtime) and Villanova.
The following week, the Wolverines will welcome Ohio State into the Big House following the football spring game.