Fifth year, first NCAA tournament.
From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:
|Siena MAAC Tournament 2013|
|Faceoff Wins||10||Faceoff Wins||15|
|Offensive Efficiency||.333||Offensive Efficiency||.323|
In a lot of ways, this was sort of the opposite of the semifinal game. In this one, Detroit was outdrawn on faceoffs, but made up for it was a great day clearing the ball, and decent work on the ride. Whereas the other was more of a defensive struggle, this contest saw more success from the offense.
I guess I’ll have to lead this one off with an offensive player, no? Mike Birney scored five goals, including the winner in overtime. He takes a lot of shots to get what he does, but it’s easy to see why when most of those that he puts on cage find their way into the back of the net. He has a big shot, and has become a larger and larger part of the offense in recent weeks, which has seen that unit go from pretty bad to… well, not very consistent still, but much improved.
It was a good offensive day, so it’s not surprising to see other offensive stars, as well. Alex Maini had two goals and an assist, and Tom Masterson, like Birney, has become a bigger part of the offense to positive effect in recent weeks. He had a goal and three assists. Scott Drummond (2G) and defensive midfielder Thomas Sible (1G) were the other Titans to register points.
The huge positive offensively – very few turnovers. That’s the exception to what has been the norm for Detroit, and since it came two days after a game in which they were similarly clean with the ball… maybe they can pick things up at the end of the season here? I’ll believe it when I see it against a strong defensive team in the NCAA tournament (not that Notre Dame thrives on causing turnovers but I’m getting ahead of myself here).
The Titans had 48 shots to Siena’s 27, so the defense certainly did its part in preventing what is, from all accounts, a more talented and more successful Siena offense from getting its opportunities. The Saints turned it over 18 times, 11 of them caused by the Titans. Jon Dwyer caused three while – surprise! – Jamie Hebden and Jordan Houtby had two apiece.
Faceoffs were a problem, and that came against a Siena team that has been good-not-great at them all year. Damien Hicks went 10/24 (the other loss is credited to Houtby). At this point in the season, Hicks is clearly your best option, and he’s going to win and lose his share of draws. You hope the wing play makes that much stronger to the positive than the negative.
A.J. Levell wasn’t asked to do nearly as much as he had been against Marist. He didn’t have a great day, making eight saves and allowing ten goals, but whatever scoreboard. He didn’t have to make a save in overtime and his team won.
Conor Prunty was the star for Siena, scoring two goals himself and assisting on four others. The Saints didn’t spread the offense around that much: only five other players registered any points, and only Kevin Cousin (1A) scored a single point in the game. Matt Sharp actually had a very good day between the pipes, saving 11 of Detroit’s 25 shots.
The tournament is upon us. Detroit will take on No. 2 Notre Dame… and boy, based on the numbers there’s no way the Irish are deserving of that seed. That doesn’t mean Detroit gets the win (the Titans are unseeded for a reason), but Notre Dame is vulnerable.
These two teams already played once this spring, a 15-7 scrimmage loss for the Titans. More preview material later this week.