Although Michigan’s Team One improved greatly over the course of their season, it wasn’t enough against a high-octane North Carolina team on Saturday. The Tar Heels exploited the differences in top-end talent and depth to run the Wolverines off the field in Chapel Hill.
From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:
|North Carolina 2012|
|Faceoff Wins||10||Faceoff Wins||17|
|Offensive Efficiency||.161||Offensive Efficiency||.422|
Carolina started things right by dominating the possession game. As expected, they won their fair share of faceoffs, and they cleared the ball very well, while holding Michigan to mediocre-ish clearing numbers.
What they did with those possessions is just as important. Whereas Michigan struggled to put the ball in the net at all, the Tar Heels finished 42% of the time. Adjusted for the strengths of the respective teams (hint: Carolina is a lot better), it was one of Michigan’s worst defensive performances of the year.
Don’t take my word for it, look at the in-depth tempo-free stuff from TempoFreeLax:
Yeah, so, this one was coming from a mile away. As much as Michigan improved over the course of the year, it only showed a little bit in their overall tempo-free numbers (they finished third-from-last, ahead of only Wagner and Mercer), and it definitely didn’t get them into the realm of North Carolina, and NCAA Tournament team that finished No. 15 to the tempo-free calculations.
The only multi-point Wolverine was Trevor Yealy, who ends his only season as a member of Michigan’s NCAA team as the all-time leader in scoring. All told, he has 26 goals and one assist in his career as a varsity player. Thomas Paras and Will Meter (among others) will certainly pass him before next season ends, but it’s a well-deserved honor for Yealy.
Speaking of Paras, he had a rough day: no scoring on seven shots, only two of them on the cage. He and Yealy (six shots, three on goal) were the only Wolverines to launch multiple shots in the game. Meter and Willie Steenland picked up an assist apiece.
On faceoffs, you can’t expect a poor unit (finished the year at 41%) to outdo one of the nation’s best (ending the regular season at just under 60%), and Brian Greiner’s 10/27 effort was admirable enough. He also picked up a goal on a clean win, giving him four scores in his final four games at Michigan.
Defensively, Mack Gembis’s caused turnover and three ground balls paced the squad. J.D. Johnson had a CT of his own, to go along with two ground balls.
In net, Emil Weiss continued getting pummeled, but also continued saving at least his fair share of opponents’ shots. He allowed 15 goals and made 14 saves. He briefly left the game with a thumb injury, and Dylan Westerhold allowed four goals with one save in his stead.
Marcus Holman had an OK day for Carolina, scoring six goals and adding four assists. Most of the other individuals were held mostly in check, but it was also a pretty balanced scoring day for UNC, and 16 Tar Heels found their way into the scoring column in one way or another.
Team One is no more, and it’s on to Team Two for the Wolverines. Obviously, the season was a struggle – to say the least – but there were occasional flashes of competence, and there are signs that the future won’t be quite so dim.
I’ll be talking about all of that, starting with the Requiem for a Season post sometime late this week or early next week. You can see that post for Michigan’s final club season here.