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Monday, March 14, 2011

Michigan 15, Ohio 5

The Wolverines didn't play well in Athens, Ohio on Saturday, but as is often the case when playing CCLA opposition, that didn't prevent them from getting a win against the Ohio Bobcats.

The bench was (sort of) emptied early in the game, and a 9-2 Michigan lead at the half only grew to 15-5 by the end of the game. Trevor Yealy led the team with 6 goals. Let's get on to the...


From the official recap, here's your tempo-free breakdown.

Ohio Michigan
Faceoff Wins 6 Faceoff Wins 19
Clearing 9-34 Clearing 13-21
Possessions 48 Possessions 65
Goals 5 Goals 15
Offensive Efficiency .104 Offensive Efficiency .231

As expected against teams without an established strength on faceoffs, the Wolverines were able to get the vast majority of draws against OU. Part of that seems to be due to playing Trevor Yealy on the wing, as he's not just a finisher, but (like a great crease attackman should be) also very skilled at picking up GBs in traffic.

The ride generally has success against all levels of competition, but is designed to dominate the less-skilled opposition - basically the non-Chapman, BYU, Arizona State, Michigan State-types of the world. Dominate it did, allowing the Bobcats to clear barely more than a quarter of their attempts.

By definition, then, Michigan dominated the ball, with nearly 60% of the possessions in a very fast game (113 total possessions). Of course, part of the reason for that speed was sloppy play, as both teams turned it over a ton - Michigan's 37 giveaways was a season high. A poor clearing rate against a bad team is a little worrisome, but it can hopefully be chalked up to a 1-game struggle.

Lots of possessions and only a meager goal total means that Michigan's efficiency is not very high, though they also held Ohio to a very poor efficiency themselves. Lower efficiency isn't a big concern in games where the 3rd and 4th lines are getting time, as long as it means there's no threat of losing the game. The efficiency margin (offensive efficiency minus opponent's offensive efficiency) was still a healthy .127.


Oh, hai Trevor Yealy. 6 points on 6 goals certainly looks like he's settling back into the familiar "finisher" role after spending much of the early season working on other aspects of the game, playing the wing and working as a dodger/distributor more than in the past. Tom Paras added 4 goals of his own.

According to someone who was in attendance, the lack of playmakers in the midfield is going to be a struggle this year. For all of Michigan's very talented attackmen (especially with Ryan Dutton-O'Hara back to full health), they really need someone to step up from the first couple midfield units. Jeff Chu is a full-time midfielder now, and maybe the little jitterbug can open things up with dodging ability.

Defensively, Michigan's defense got caught ball-watching for a couple of Ohio's goals, giving up the backside post for the Bobcats to get an easy finish. I'm not sure whether the top couple D-lines were guilty of this, or whether it was mainly backups. Either way, that's something that can't happen against more skilled teams, because BYU and Arizona State, for example, will be able to consistently turn those looks into goals.

In goal, the top two guys played the first half, with Mark Stone allowing no goals (though from the sound of things, Ohio hardly even got the ball into the box in the first quarter), and Andrew Fowler allowing a pair in the second. Sophomore Cy Abdelnour played the entire second half, and let in 3 goals with 3 saves.

JP talked about the team's substitution pattern with the official site:

On a lot of young guys seeing action: “We played everyone that was healthy and Cy got to play the entire second half. We gave guys an opportunity to faceoff who haven’t had that chance this year and they did well. We went deep beginning in the second quarter, so it’s not like anyone got garbage time. Everyone had a real chance to show something and get some quality time.”

Playing deep into the bench leads me to believe that there's no reason to be concerned with some of the problems noted above.

As for those faceoffs, Brian Greiner won 5/6, while Joey Hrusovsky(!?) and Andrew Hayden each were a perfect 3/3. Edward Ernst continues to struggle a bit, winning only 8 of 13 draws (.615). That's no terrible number, but considering what the others were able to do, it's no great shakes either.

Up Next

Michigan has a pair of home games this weekend, welcoming rival BYU to Oosterbaan Fieldhouse Friday at 7, and Pitt on Saturday at the same time. If you aren't headed down to Jow Louis Arena, you can catch almost all of Friday's lacrosse game before catching the CCHA semifinals on TV.

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