Coming into the game, this looked like a big opportunity for Detroit to get one in the winner column before conference play starts. The way it played out, it looks even more like a missed opportunity than it did before.
From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:
|Robert Morris 2013|
|Faceoff Wins||9||Faceoff Wins||5|
|Offensive Efficiency||.143||Offensive Efficiency||.265|
Detroit has generally not been a good possession team, so pulling ahead in that metric and still losing (in mostly non-competitive fashion) is a major disappointment.
The offense was simply brutal on this day – the one area in my predictions that really didn’t come to fruition. An 0-fer on eight EMO opportunities is just one of the many things that truly disappoints.
So, if Detroit didn’t lose this game in the possession game, where did they lose it? Well, the clear gave up whatever advantage they could have gained from a good faceoff day. Turnovers were a slight problem (as a factor of that rough clear, for some of them), but Robert Morris didn’t really play clean ball, either.
The difference, for the most part, came in getting shots on goal. Robert Morris put 19 on cage, Detroit put 15. Each goalie saved 10. Of course, RMU also had many more shows overall, so they were winning in possession. Despite UDM winning the faceoff battle somewhat handily, Robert Morris won the ground ball battle.
On to the positives. The two bright spots on offense (as has been the case all year) were Shayne Adams and Alex Maini. Each scored two goals, and Maini added an assist. Brandon Beauregard had a goal and an assist. Still, the offensive output was downright anemic. A couple observers who caught the game live mentioned that there’s not off-ball motion on the offense, but it’s clear that there’s more than just one problem there.
Defensively, the overall effort was good-not-great, but two special teams goals for Robert Morris (one man-up and one man-down) account for part of that, as well – as well as a half-field shot by a pole as the first quarter expired. The 6-v-6 was almost certainly better than that number shows, and holding any opponent to single digits in a 70-possession game is not bad.
The highlights (embedded below) just show goals, so it’s natural that the defense is going to look poor in the last instants before a goal, but there are some seriously rough moments in there, including the long goal.
A.J. Levell saved more than 50% of shots, which isn’t bad, but he also wasn’t going to will his team to victory on a day that the offense needed help, either. Jordan Houtby caused SIX turnovers and picked up six ground balls, an amazing output. Nobody else on D had a notably good day, based on the stats.
Jakes Hayes was the standout performer for the RMU offense, notching three goals and three assists. Goalie Charles Ruppert saved 2/3 of the 15 shots he faced.
Detroit will hope that Titan Field will be a little kinder to them than the road has been. It also doesn’t hurt that Saturday’s opponent is Quinnipiac, the fifth-worst program in the country last season (and a UDM victim).
If Detroit’s going to live up to any sort of expectations, this is the game that could spark a return to solid play.