This one hurts (I feel like I’ve been leading with that a lot lately). Detroit led 9-6 late in the third, and allowed six straight goals by Siena to give away a game that would have all-but sealed a berth in the conference tournament.
On the other side of the coin, a Siena team that is used to winning (and winning a hell of a lot more than they have this year) made plays down the stretch to win. Someday soon, the Titans will hopefully be the program that’s too used to winning to let any other outcome prevail.
From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:
|Faceoff Wins||11||Faceoff Wins||16|
|Offensive Efficiency||.294||Offensive Efficiency||.371|
The numbers look a little ugly. Roughly even possessions thanks to one team facing off well and one team clearing well enough to take advantage of the stops its defense got. However, Siena’s big run in the third and fourth gave them an excellent offensive efficiency, outdueling a decent day from the UDM offense.
Think happy thoughts: that offense was pretty good, against a Siena defense that, while not up to its recent historical standard, is non-awful. I said someone other than Alex Maini would have to step up, but it was still Maini who carried much of the load. He had three goals and an assist (matched by Scott Drummond).
It makes you wonder… did the offense change with Shayne Adams out of the lineup? I didn’t see any games this season while he was still playing, so I don’t know if there’s something different schematically, but it certainly seems to have hit a stride. It’s possible that they’re just getting used to the new OC’s schemes at this point (which, you would prefer it not to take an entire seas, but whatever). This offensive unit could be potent re-adding Adams next year.
Despite holding Siena to 75% on the clear, the defense was pretty poor. A.J. Levell let in 13 goals while making nine saves, and regular commenter sirlaxalot noted what I’ve seen out of Levell in the past: he’ll make a lot of saves that he really shouldn’t (see 1:10 on the highlights)… but also let in some goals that he really shouldn’t. That’s a great fit with the style of defense UDM has preferred to play in the past few years, but it can also bite you.
Speaking of that defense, it was not up to its usual turnover-causing ways, and that’s when you give the goalie too much pressure. Only John Dwyer (3) and the regular duo of Jamie Hebden and Jordan Houtby (2 each) caused more than one turnover. If you’re going to live and die with playing aggressively, it had better pay off more often than not.
The situation on faceoffs is really weird. Damien Hicks had a subpar day, but only slightly so. It’s the timing that seems odd. He was dominated in the first half – when the Titans were playing relatively well – and then more than held his own after the break… and his team gave up a lead on a huge run. Without watching the game, it’s tough to get a feel for how that really happens.
Although Detroit committed several penalties (as is usual), Siena only converted on one. However, Three of the four EMO opportunities came in the fourth quarter, so although the man-down wasn’t directly giving up goals, it was certainly letting the D tire out. With depth issues brought on by injury – Nick Garippa out for the season, for example – and what appears to be a very small travel roster, that can do you in, especially on the road.
Tomorrow’s the big day in-state. Titans v. Wolverines. 36 players from Michigan. Etc.
(Hopefully) plenty of preview content tomorrow.