Thursday, April 14, 2011

UND vs. Michigan: A statistical analysis

Understandably, most North Dakota hockey fans don't have much interest in dwelling on the painful 2-0 loss to Michigan April 7 at the NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul. It's still difficult for me to comprehend that the opportunity for the Fighting Sioux to win an eighth national championship has come and gone.

After watching the game again and reading some of the analysis that's been done, I decided to delve into the game statistics and shot charts provided by the NCAA. My apologies to those who aren't stats geeks, but I think the value of studying shot charts and statistics serves to debunk some of the statements made about how the Sioux performed and were coached against Michigan.

One area in which I was most interested was shots on goal by each team from the prime scoring area (PSA). I defined the PSA as the area from the goal line out to the top of the faceoff circles with the faceoff dots forming the left and right edges of the box. I was also interested in the shots from beyond the blue line because the chances of scoring on them is probably less than 1 percent.

Here are some interesting facts:
  • 35% (7) of Michigan's 20 shots on goal were from the prime scoring area
  • 50% (20) of UND's 40 shots on goal were from the prime scoring area
  • Michigan blocked 23% (16) of UND's 70 shot attempts
  • UND blocked 31% (15) of Michigan's 40 shot attempts
  • 35% (7) of Michigan's 20 shots on goal were from outside UND's blue line
  • 5% (2) of UND's 40 shots of goal were from outside Michigan's blue line
  • 18 of UND's 20 shots on goal (90%) from the prime scoring area were taken by the team's top 10 scorers
  • 4 of Michigan's 7 shots on goal (57%) from the prime scoring area were taken by the team's top 10 scorers
  • In the third period, UND had 4 shots from the prime scoring area that missed the net (wide or high) and 3 that were blocked
  • UND had 8 scoring opportunities from just outside the crease
  • Michigan had 1 scoring opportunity from just outside the crease
  • UND's top line had 10 shots on goal from the prime scoring area
  • Michigan's top line had 2 shots on goal from the prime scoring area
Overall, UND had it's top-end players in prime scoring position throughout the game and was generating quality scoring opportunities. UND did an excellent job of shutting down Michigan's highest-scoring players, blocking shots and nearly eliminating any second chances on rebounds.

Based on these statistics, UND played an excellent defensive game against Michigan, effectively bottling up the Wolverines' top scorers. The Sioux were also very disciplined in giving Michigan just one power play. Much was made afterwards about Michigan's shot blocking, but UND's defense was better at not only limiting the Wolverines' shot attempts, but also at blocking a higher percentage of shots and limiting scoring opportunities from just outside the paint.

Offensively, with the exception of the power play, UND did everything well but put the puck in the net. Throughout the game, the top Sioux scorers had the puck on their sticks in prime scoring territory. But, as Michigan coach Red Berenson said, goalie Shawn Hunwick played the game of his life. If he hadn't, the Sioux would have lit up Michigan like a Christmas tree. Hunwick -- not Berenson's game plan or Michigan's defense -- deserves full credit for shutting down and shutting out UND.

There's no question in my mind that UND dominated the game. Without Hunwick's performance, Michigan would have been sunk.

First Period

UND shots on goal = 14 (1 from outside the blue line)
Michigan shots on goal = 10 (3 from outside the blue line)

UND prime scoring area shots = 7
Brad Malone 2; Matt Frattin 2; Danny Kristo 1; Brock Nelson 1; Derrick LaPoint 1

Michigan prime scoring area shots = 3 (30%)
Ben Winnett 1 (scored); Jeff Rohrkemper 1; Carl Hagelin 1

Second Period
UND shots on goal = 11 (1 outside the blue line)
Michigan shots on goal = 3 (1 from outside the blue line)

UND prime scoring area shots = 6
Evan Trupp 2; Jason Gregoire 1; Andrew MacWilliam 1; Danny Kristo 1; Chay Genoway 1

Michigan prime scoring area shots = 0

Third Period
UND shots on goal = 15
Michigan shots on goal = 7 (3 from outside the blue line)

UND prime scoring area shots = 7
Brad Malone 2; Evan Trupp 3; Matt Frattin 1; Danny Kristo 1

Michigan prime scoring area shots = 4
Scooter Vaughn 2 (scored empty net goal*); Luke Moffatt 1; Louie Caporusso 1

Game Totals
Michigan shot attempts = 48
42% shots on goal
31% blocked by UND

UND shot attempts = 70
57% shots on goal
23% blocked by Michigan

*Note: Vaughn's empty netter was actually from outside the prime scoring area, but with UND's goalie pulled, I decided the area should expanded.


Anonymous said...

I said it earlier that I thought the Sioux dominated the game. Hunwick is the reason Michigan won that game. People are talking about Hak not having the team prepared or getting out coached. I think that is insane to think that. Hak and Co. did a great job all season and I think did a great job preparing the team for the F4. They only took one penalty and your stats pretty much prove the rest. How do you prepare your team for the best goaltending performance of the playoffs? The only reason why this loss stings is because the Sioux are/were the best team in college hockey...Period.

Goon said...

PCM so you're saying you don't want to fire Hak? Also, if I read what you wrote here I agree with you I think the Sioux were prepared but just ran into a very hot goalie.

Patrick C. Miller said...

No, I wouldn't fire a coach who's taken UND to the NCAA playoffs all of the seven years he's coached the Fighting Sioux, won two WCHA championships, three Final Five championships and had the team in the Frozen Four five times. Do I want a national championship? Hell yes! But if you don't get in the NCAA tournament, you can't even think about the possibility. Just getting to that point at the end of the season is a huge challenge. It's only a mattter of time before the Sioux break through, and it will probably happen in a year when it's not expected.

krangodance said...

Nice to see some proof to support my claims that it was all Hunwick's doing that gave Michigan the win.

I had plenty of debates on this with Hak Haters over the first few days after the game (short debates mind you since I knew I was dealing with illogical people).

If we had the Hunwick Duluth had it would have been a slaughter.

Patrick C. Miller said...

Some Sioux fans seem to be under the impression that Michigan did the same thing to UND that it did to Colorardo College. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Anonymous said...

To Qoute Gino Gasparini " WIN the foot races, win the game. I was there. the Sioux did not, .until midway through the 3rd period. Too bad, I think the Sioux would win 9 of 10 against Mich. Always was & always will be a ND Sioux Fan JDTC60

Goon said...

Pat, I really hate it when you cloud the issue with facts... :)

Patrick C. Miller said...

I was there, too. I had the benefit of seeing HD replays of the game as it was happening and rewatched it after I got home.

The stats don't lie. The only period that was close to being even was the first in which UND had 7 shots on goal from the prime scoring area to 3 for Michigan. Plus, three of Michgan's 10 shots on goal for the period were from outside the blue line.

The Wolverines had nothing going for them in the second period. In the third period, Michigan got more scroing chances because UND was taking more chances. The shot chart from the third period shows UND with numerous chances from the prime scoring area and just outside the crease.

Throughout the game, the Sioux had their top players in great position to score. The difference in the game was Shawn Hunwick.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

To take it a little further from the first post I left (the first anonymouse post here). Hak and Co. were picked to win the WCHA. I have heard many coaches say that is the hardest thing to do...go win it when your picked to. They hit a few bumps in the road but were pretty consistent all year. If they lost they followed it up with a strong game and a win. If the playoffs in college hockey were all 3 game series the Sioux would have been national champions this year. northdasotan