So, this is probably not going to go well. What is effectively the country’s youngest team going up against the program with the most tradition (and one of a few with the most talent)… this is probably not going to go well.
Side note: Bellarmine tempo-free recap coming tomorrow. Simply didn’t have time to finish it this week.
Hopkins has played just a couple games this year. One was against a Towson team that gave High Point its first win as a program, and the other against a Siena team that – though it’s usually the best MAAC team – plays in the worst conference in the country, and hasn’t made serious waves in the NCAA Tournament in recent years.
|Johns Hopkins 2013|
|Faceoff Wins||29||Faceoff Wins||14|
|Offensive Efficiency||.307||Offensive Efficiency||.185|
Johns Hopkins hasn’t played a true gauntlet, but… Michigan isn’t the type of opposition that”s going to change that status, either. They’ve dominated possession, and done quite a bit with the ball, while preventing opponents from doing the same.
Hopkins looks like it belongs among the nation’s elite, at least this early in the year. Accordingly, the preview might be a breeze-through more than anything.
Junior attackman Brandon Benn leads the team with seven goals on the year. Sophomore Wells Stanwick (yes, that Stanwick) has four and two, and Midfielder John Ranagan has three and three. Senior attack Zach Palmer is the team’s assist leader with four, and he’s also contributed two goals. At 5-7, he’s a little guy and your classic dodger-creator.
Junior midfielder Rex Sanders (3G), freshman attack Ryan Brown (2G, 1A), senior midfielder Lee Coppersmith (2G), junior midfielder Phil Castranova (2G), junior midfielder Rob Guida (1G, 1A), and senior midfielder John Greeley (2A) close out your multi-point scorers.
Senior Tucker Durkin, junior Jack Reilly, and senior Chris Lightner are your starters on close D. LSM Michael Pellegrino is the non-FO leader in ground balls.
The goalie is a well-known name in Pierce Bassett. The senior is saving an outstanding .667 of shots faced this year, and has allowed just 12 goals through two games.
Senior Mike Poppleton has been exceptional on faceoffs this year, winning .719 of his draws so far. He wins a fair number of them himself (and obviously Pellegrino has benefitted, as well), but doesn’t turn that into offense on his own, with no shot attempts or assists so far this year.
Hopkins is an outstanding clearing team, and despite not typically employing a heavy ride, opponents aren’t clearing well against them. That’s partially on account of mediocre competition faced.
Both Hopkins and opponents have played pretty clean ball this year, with only nine combined penalties per game. Hopkins has finished about 50% of their EMO chances, with opponents actually converting decently as well.
This is Michigan’s first chance this year to find out what an elite team – what the type of team that they’re trying to emulate – looks like. Hopkins is bigger, faster, stronger, just better at about every position than Michigan (though with a better defense in front of him, Gerald Logan could contend with Basset, at the least).
In Michigan’s “culture-building” phase of the program, playing a team like this isn’t their opportunity to win, it’s their opportunity to grow by taking their lumps, and learn what the end goal is. Of course, given the rumors of Johns Hopkins joining the Big Ten, this could be the preview of a future conference matchup, too.
Like the North Carolina game last year, this could get ugly. Michigan simply doesn’t have the horses to keep up. The Wolverines know that, however, and they aren’t going to just concede, either.
- A couple Blue Jays get their first goal of the year. This should be a depth-building opportunity for Dave Pietramala.
- That said, Hopkins isn’t going to run it up on U-M. Petro has a lot of respect for nascent programs, particularly in non-hotbed areas. He’s also good friends with Michigan coach John Paul. Hopkins is going to win, and win handily. They aren’t going to try to embarrass the Wolverines.
- Gerald Logan continues to show that he’ll be a star once the defense in front of him continues to improve. Michigan was pretty good in the 6-on-6 against Bellarmine, but Hopkins is a different animal altogether. Preventing transition opportunities is still a priority, but Hop will be able to break down the Michigan defense in the half-field, too.
- This is a clean game. Michigan and Hopkins are both pretty good at avoiding penalties, and the damage to Michigan’s pride could be the only thing that results in a scrap or two and some ensuing penalty minutes.
Michigan would like to be Johns Hopkins when it grows up. The Wolverines are still infantile when it comes to the program’s development, however. They just don’t have what it takes to seriously compete in a game like this. Johns Hopkins 17, Michigan 6.