|Penn State (7-25-2) vs #12 Michigan (18-12-4)|
|3/20/14 at Xcel Energy Center|
|2:00pm CT (BTN)|
The Wolverines survived a weekend series against Minnesota, moving on to their 5th must win series in a row.
Everyone is picking Penn State as their upset pick Friday and if Michigan doesn't approach this game like it's against the #1 team in the nation they could see their season come to an end.
|Team Offense||Power Play|
|2.26 GPG, 51st NCAA||23-of-125, 26th NCAA|
Offensively it's been tough sledding for Penn State this season. Goals have been hard to come by, unless they're playing Michigan. Early on almost all of the scoring came from their Top-6, with Eric Scheid carrying the load and no secondary scoring.
In a season of misfortune it was only fitting that around the time Penn State started to get secondary scoring, the rest of the team would go ice cold. Dylan Richard, Casey Bailey and Taylor Holstrom are producing. David Goodwin, Zach Saar and Eric Scheid are not.
The lone bright spot for Penn State is the power play which is converting at 18% but has scored 23 goals, 3 less than Michigan's 17th ranked unit. A parade to the box will be bad news for the Wolverines, who have a player or two that seem to have drawn a target from Big Ten officials.
After four games Michigan is well aware of the Penn State mentality on offense. The Nittany Lions will establish a hard forecheck, shoot from anywhere on the ice and go hard to the net on every shift. Zach Nagelvoort looked shaky with his rebound control Friday against Minnesota and was fighting off some of his shots, but Saturday he was sharp. Red needs him locked in from the opening puck drop.
Everything has to be clean for the Wolverines moving the puck out of the zone. The Michigan blueline has shown that when they control the puck, keep teams out of transition and limit turnovers Zach Nagelvoort and Steve Racine handle almost anything that comes their way. When they turn it over in the defensive zone and let teams skate in transition Michigan starts to have problems. This will be the difference between a comfortable win and a miserable loss.
With a healthy blueline expect the pairs to stay the same. Mike Downing, Kevin Clare and Brennan Serville on the left with Mac Bennett, Kevin Lohan and Andrew Sinelli on the right.