Who: #17 Michigan at Arizona State
Where: Gila River Arena
When: Friday, 7:05pm Mountain Time
Still reeling from a road sweep in the northeast the young Wolverines hit the road for a one game series to face the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils are not good. It’s understandable. They’re still transitioning their roster from club to D-1 so it’s going to be awhile before the team is competing at a higher level.
With a 1-7-0 record ASU has split a series with Air Force and hung with Notre Dame for one game but have been shelled in every other game they have played this year.
Offensively the Sun Devils rank 52nd nationally scoring 2.12 goals per game and sit at 51st in power play percentage converting on 10% of their chances. By far their best player is Robbie Baillargeon, an Ottawa draft pick who transferred to ASU after three years at BU. Baillargeon leads the team with six goals.
Other players to watch for are David Norris and Tyler Busch. Norris is an AIC transfer who holds their single season assist record after posting 26 in 2013. Freshman Tyler Busch is second on the team with four goals.
Defensively the Sun Devils rank 58th in goals against and 57th in shots allowed. They are the most penalized team in the country and have allowed the most power play goals in D-1 hockey.
In net the Sun devils have used three goaltenders with less than stellar results. Joey Daccord has logged the most minutes this season and has posted an .845 sv% with a 5.67 goals against.
Senior netminder Rob Levin has fared slightly better with a 5.01 goals against and an .881 sv%.
It’s official: the Wolverines are in panic mode. Michigan has survived so far thanks to three shorthanded goals and a few opportunistic rebounds but with luck running out and his forwards not generating anything, Red Berenson has put his forward lines in the blender.
It’s a mess. Brendan Warren is not a center, neither is Nick Pastujov and the only player who can create offense on his own is Alex Kile, who has reverted to do-everything mode because his linemates can’t help him.
The power play is putrid. The Wolverines are running a 1-3-1 but with the forwards pitching a zero they’ve regressed to giving the puck to Piazza and hoping he can score.
Every spot is up for grabs with Red looking for a spark but I don’t see where it’s going to come from.
The goalie carousel continues to spin and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop. Hayden Lavigne was outstanding against Vermont and still got shelled because the Catamounts bombed him with rubber for 60 minutes.
LaFontaine had a similar game against Dartmouth. He played well. His defensive zone coverage was weak.
My guess is that Zach Nagelvoort starts.