Battle at the Big House: Michigan vs Fairfield Preview

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan welcomes the 13th-ranked Fairfield Stags to the Big House on Saturday. The game is after the football team's spring game and is the third installment of the Battle at the Big House.

Where and When

Date: April 5

Where: Michigan Stadium

When: 4:30 ET

Coverage: MGoBlueTV

The Opponent

Fairfield Stags (8-2, 1-0 ECAC)

The Stags are in the midst of a six-game win streak after beating the Bucknell Bison (5-6, 3-3 Patriot League) on Tuesday. Their two losses were to a Hofstra team that is currently ranked at number 16, and to the Friars of Providence, but they've also been able to beat ranked Yale and UMass teams.

Attack/Midfield: Senior Eric Warden leads the team with 25 goals, while TJ Neubauer's 21 puts him second on the team; teammate Tristan Sperry is leading in points, with 33 points on 18 goals and 15 assists, while Colin McLinden is the main distributor (with the ball, that is; I don't believe guns or drugs play a part at all) with 21 assists so far in 2014. When it comes right down to it, though, the Stags know how to put points on the board; only two times this season have they failed to score in double digits. Grad student Michael Roe and Louie DiGiacomo have split face-off duty, with Roe going 56 of 138 and DiGiacomo going 41 of 94.

Defense/Goalie: Greg Perraut and Toby Armour are using their senior leadership on the defensive side of the ball to combine for 19 caused turnovers, but underclassmen are also getting involved; sophomore Conor Barr and freshman Jay Walsh have added another 16 CTs. Returning between the pipes is Jack Murphy, who started in every game last year and finished the season with a save % of .523. His 2014 stats show that he's played all but sixteen minutes and has a save % of .559 on 335 shots faced.

Michigan (4-7, 1-1)
Fairfield (8-2, 1-0)
Goals-shots attempts 112-436 122-306
Goals scored per game 10.18 12.20
Shot % .257 .399
Shots on goal-attempts 244-436 194-306
SOG% .560 .634
Total Goals 112 122
Man-Up Opps 17-43 (.395) 14-32 (.438)
Ground Balls 335 275
Turnovers 163 130
Caused Turnovers 82 74
Face-Offs 150-289 (.519) 101-238 (.424)
Clears 192-217 (.885) 173-192 (.901)
Saves 107 100


The Outlook

Michigan has a great opportunity to take down their first ranked team on Saturday, but they need to capitalize on extra-man chances and get past Jack Murphy, who is allowing just under eight goals per game. When Michigan played Air Force, stopping the Falcons' first quarter scoring was going to be key; this week, it will be important to stop the Stags' fourth quarter scoring; thirty-three of Fairfield's scores have come in the final frame. The Stags have been less than stellar at the dot, winning only 42% of their chances, so this opens up a great opportunity for Brad Lott to control the game. However, the Wolverines are susceptible to being turned over, so Michigan will need sound possessions if they are going to win.

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