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Michigan - Ferris State Preview

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The 8th ranked Wolverines open the 2014 season in Big Rapids against 9th ranked Ferris State.

Gregory Shamus

Who: #8 Michigan at #9 Ferris State

Where: Ewigleben Arena, Big Rapids Michigan

When: 10/4/14, 7:37pm ET. Comcast 900

The Wolverines hit the road to open the 2014-2015 season against in-state rival Ferris State. Our former CCHA counterparts welcome Michigan after the two faced off last season in a #3 vs #4 matchup at Yost last season that ended in a tie.

About Ferris

Bob Daniels returns for his 23rd year behind the Ferris bench after leading the Bulldogs to their second postseason appearance in three years. Daniels has built his program on player development and the roster leans heavily on their upperclassmen.

Offensive Zone

Michigan debuts their talented freshman class. Dylan Larkin and Dexter Dancs will headline the new look Wolverines at forward; Andrew Copp, JT Compher and Zach Hyman return to give the Top-6 a harder to the net style of play that we haven't seen in quite some time.

Ferris State has build their identity on the defensive side of the ice. They won't play a flashy game; instead a veteran group of blueliners led by Jason Binkley and Brandon Anselmini will look to keep Michigan out of transition, play mistake free hockey and let star goaltender C.J. Motte take care of the rest.

When the Wolverines have the puck they need to get to the net. The Bulldogs will try and keep everything easy and in front of Motte in the offensive zone sets, so Michigan has to get traffic in front of the crease and play hard down by Motte's net.

Ferris is content to let Michigan fire shots from the wall in transition with no opposite ice net drive and it's going to be a long night if that's how to game is flowing. This is the kind of game that our power forward type players need to step up and earn a win.

Defensive Zone

The mantra of a Bob Daniels' team is a heavy forecheck; they want to get two forwards down deep in the zone and pressure the defensemen to give up the puck. The maligned Wolverine blueline from a year ago started to show their flaws last season against Ferris State at Yost, cracking against heavy FSU pressure at the end of the game.

The young Wolverine blueline will be challenged from the opening puck drop to move the puck out of the zone, they'll need quick exits to keep Ferris from setting up and no turnovers. Against a team like this, defensive zone turnovers end up in the back of your net.

The left side of Michigan's blueline, Werenski-Downing-DeJong should handle their own. The right side, Lohan-Serville-Sinelli is still a question mark. What the coaches are hoping is that improved play on the left can make the right side better, but it's still going to be a work in progress.

The Bulldogs offensive identity mirrors what they like to do on defense. Led by Kyle Schempp and Justin Buzzeo you're not going to see a finesse game, they want to get the puck deep and grind out offensive possessions in front of Zach Nagelvoort. The new look Wolverines will have to earn their stripes around and below the goal line, hard on the backboards and in front of the net. The team who can be more physical in this area of the ice will be the deciding factor in the game.

Outlook

This game is a toss up because neither team really knows who they are yet. What's it's going to come down to is who makes the least amount of mistakes in front of their star goalie. Expect a hard fought win for whoever comes out on top.