Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Know Thy Enemy: Michigan

Well. It's that time of year (perfect timing for MSU with the football bye week).

Excuse me while I shower to clean myself for posting that logo......

Seriously though, it's time for the first installment of the most played rivalry in college hockey history. It's Michigan week.

Yeah, We really can't blame you for reacting this way.....

Friday night the teams will get together at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, and Saturday the teams will play at Munn. Both games can be seen on Comcast (Channel 900), at 7:35 pm on Friday and 7:05 pm on Saturday. If you can't tune in, you can turn on your radio to 730 am on Friday and 1240 am on Saturday. 

This will be the 290th and 291st time the two rivals have met. According to MSU records, the Wolverines lead the series 145-125-19. Last season Michigan went 3-1-1 against Michigan State (includes GLI). Michigan State went 1-0-1 at Munn (MSU won the shoot-out). Michigan won at Yost and then won two overtime games at Joe Louis Arena.

MSU is 64-48-10 at home against Michigan. Michigan holds a 71-44-4 edge at Yost. Both teams have done well in the regular season at home against the other one. Michigan last won a regular season game at Munn on December 6, 2008 (a 5-3 win). Michigan did win two play-off games at Munn back in March of 2010. Michigan State last won at Yost (3-2) on November 13, 2009. That was the last time MSU also swept a weekend series from Michigan (MSU won the next night at Munn 2-0).

Although it's not likely - you never know when Shegos will be in the middle of a MSU-UM brawl

Highlights From The Last MSU-UM game at Munn

The bad news for Michigan State fans is Torey Krug isn't walking out on the ice. The good news for MSU fans is that Michigan still seems to be figuring things out right now. They have question marks on the blue line and in goal. They only earned two out of a possible six points last weekend at Northern Michigan, and it took a three goal third period comeback on Friday just to force OT and eventually a shoot-out. Plus, the last goal Michigan scored in regulation happened at the 19:59 mark of the final period. 

I guess it goes without saying that you'll need to play 60 minutes against Michigan to try to beat them in regulation. 

Top Scorers:

A.J. Treais        7 goals, 10 points
Mac Bennett     3 goals, 9 points
Alex Guptill     4 goals, 8 points
Kevin Lynch    2 goals, 6 points
Jacob Trouba   2 goals, 6 points
Phil Di Giuseppe  1 goal, 6 points

In Goal:

Steve Racine   3-1-1, 2.96 GAA, .885 save %
Jared Rutledge  0-2-0, 4.52 GAA, .852 save %

Michigan is averaging 41 shots a game, and they are only allowing 27 shots a goal. The one period that stood out was the 105-57 shot edge in the 3rd period this year. 92-62 in the opening frame isn't bad either. Michigan out-scores teams 16-8 in the 3rd period. Michigan holds a slim 8-6 edge in scoring in the first period, and trails 9-7 in the second period this season.

So this could be interesting, because MSU has outscored teams 11-4 in the third period. They still need to work out the first two periods though as MSU has been outscored 19-3 in the first two periods combined.

Michigan's power play is clicking at a 21.9% rate right now, and the PK is at 82.1%. MSU has been out-shot 218-201 on the season. 

Final Thoughts

This can be said about any hockey game, the start is important. In a rivalry game, it adds to the importance to put the first goal in the net. Michigan State probably needs to get off to a faster start than Michigan (meaning it seems Michigan would be more apt to come from behind than Michigan State), but you just never know what could happen in this series. Anything is possible - so it wouldn't be surprising to see a 6-5 type game or a 1-0 type game. Michigan State has to have some confidence coming from the six goal outburst on Saturday at Bowling Green, but this weekend starts  quite the stretch of games to end the 2012 calendar of games (including series with Miami & Notre Dame). Every point matters, and you can't really expect anything less than an all-out effort from both clubs not wanting to give up a single inch to their arch-rival.

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