|Niagara (3-7-1) at #5 Michigan (7-2-1)|
|11/22/13 at Yost Ice Arena|
|7:00pm (Comcast 900)|
Michigan gets a tune up before the start of conference play, welcoming Niagara to Yost for a Friday night game. The Purple Eagles started the season with some optimism after being swept in a tight series against #11 Clarkson but lost four in a row in blowout fashion to Air Force, Denver and Ohio State. Their three wins have come against Army and Canisius.
|Team Offense||Power Play|
|2.91 GPG, 28th NCAA||4-51, 7.84%. 58th NCAA|
As we are still early in the season offensive numbers can still be inflated by a big game or two; six goals against Canisius and a thirteen goal weekend against Army pushes the goals per game stat towards respectability, but in five games against Clarkson, Ohio State and Denver, Niagara scored four goals total.
Attrition has taken it's toll on the Niagara this season, as the Purple Eagles lost their top three scorers to graduation and off-ice issues. Sophomore Hugo Turcotte and senior Ryan Rashid lead the team with four goals each, Patrick Divjak returns but hasn't scored a goal yet.
This matchup heavily favors the Michigan blueline, as long as they play a disciplined game. The turnovers that have killed Michigan early in the year are going to let a team like this hang around, so the Wolverines have to get mistake free hockey from Serville, Clare and Chiasson.
|Team Defense||Penalty Kill|
|3.64 GPG, 52nd NCAA||38-53, 71.7%. 54th NCAA|
Senior Kevin Ryan leads a unit that looks much worse on paper than they have played this season and a lot of that can be attributed to a pair of freshman goalies. They aren't going to be able to keep up with Michigan rolling out three scoring lines, but like we have seen before the Wolverines still have to beat themselves. This can be an easy win or a dog fight, it all comes down to how Michigan moves the puck. The finesse game is probably going to get us in trouble; we need to play a physical game and get on the goalie early. Look for the Nieves line to create chances in transition with their speed and Di Giuseppe, Moffatt, Guptill and Michigan's bigger forwards to crowd the crease.
Niagara lost both junior goalies from last season, and are playing with only two freshman goalies on the roster. Jackson Teichroeb and Adrian Ignagni have split starts with below average results, each with sub .900 save percentages and GAA's over 3.00. Michigan needs to get started early and get pucks on net to keep the goaltender from getting in any kind of rhythm.
Michigan 4 - Niagara 1