This was really a game Michigan should have won. The Wolverines dug themselves into a hole a couple times, and couldn’t recover. The wounds were mostly self-inflicted, and now the window for picking up victories this year is closing.
From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:
|Faceoff Wins||11||Faceoff Wins||11|
|Offensive Efficiency||.212||Offensive Efficiency||.314|
Despite the absence of starting faceoff specialist Brad Lott, Michigan managed to draw even on faceoffs. By clearing slightly better than Hobart, they got back to their early-season form on the clear, and managed to come close in total possessions.
The U-M offense was a little down – not expected playing against pretty good teams, but Hobart’s D had also shown some vulnerabile moments – and the defense was about as expected. All things considered, this game played out as we might have expected without…
Michigan was playing serious short-handed. Starting faceoff specialist Brad Lott, starting poles Charlie Keady and Chase Brown, and reserve midfielder Evan Glaser were among those who I noticed didn’t see the field for Michigan. Thomas Paras was once again really limited by his hamstring injury, and J.D. Johnson didn’t see the field. Michigan was as short-handed as they’ve been all year (and they have less depth to deal with that than most teams in the country), and they still performed pretty well against a decent Hobart team.
I’ve pointed out that, after the High Point loss, there is no such thing as a “moral victory” for this team, but hanging with Hobart into the fourth while dealing with that level of personnel shortage is as close as it comes. No word on whether those who did not play yesterday will be back for Thursday’s Fairfield game.
As for those who did play, my prediction of a U-M player picking up his first goal of the year held true. Doug Bryant found the back of the net for the first time this season (after coming fourth on the team in goals last year with 13).
The leading offensive players, however, have become pretty familiar by this point. Freshmen midfielders Kyle Jackson (2G, 3A) and Mike Hernandez (2A) were right at the top of the chart, with sophomore attack David McCormack right there with one of each. Hernandez committed three turnovers, so he’s still struggling a bit in that phase of the game, but he’s really turned things up – especially since he made up for that a bit by causing two TOs – and the more comfortable he gets in the lineup, the more he looks like a star (along with Jackson, who is already on that stardom track).
Defensively, Michigan was without several top contributors, so the mediocre performance on that side of the ball is actually surprising and positive (especially since Hobart has two really significant weapons in Alex Love and Cam Stone, who still had five and four points, respectively). From a stat standpoint, nobody stood out (nobody even had multiple ground balls).
One player who didn’t have his best day was goalie Gerald Logan. Without seeing the game live, I would guess that his defense wasn’t doing him a whole lot of favors, especially given the concentration of Hobart points among two players. Still, that a .542 day can be considered “bad” for him speaks a lot to Logan’s ability.
I already mentioned the offensive standouts for Hobart, but props to Peter Zonino for outdueling Logan in the cage (albeit facing a much worse offense), and to defenseman Sean Regan for setting the Hobart record in career caused turnovers.
Props to Kevin Wylie for doing a great job on faceoffs in a tough situation. Winning half the draws with a backup FOGO and a backup LSM on the field is excellent. Given that Wylie picked up five GBs on the day, he did a lot of it himself. Good work.
The Michigan EMO was very solid, going 3-of-9 on the day. That was another area in which I expected the Wolverines to do well, so it’s good to see my predictions vindicated. A team like Michigan – which has some troubles otherwise scoring goals – needs to do very well with the extra man.
I hope the Michigan team has grown comfortable on the road… after a few days in Ann Arbor for some R&R (and preparation), it’s back to the East Coast to take on Fairfield. The Stags are in the lower tier of the ECAC, but that’s obviously no guarantee of anything for this Michigan team.
The fun doesn’t stop there, as U-M has a two-day break before taking on Colgate at Citi Field (home turf of the New York Mets) Sunday afternoon. That will finally bring an end to this brutal road stretch.