#2/3 Michigan vs. #18 BGSU Preview

No. 2/3 Michigan finishes the first half of the season with a two-game series against No. 18 BGSU. The first game started at 7:05 tonight at BGSU Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio. How do the Wolverines match up with the Falcons as they try and improve to 16-2-0 over the first half of the season.

Michigan saw its 12-game win streak snapped with a two-game split with the Ohio State Buckeyes this past weekend in Ann Arbor. Despite the loss, the Wolverines maintained their lofty position in the national polls at No. 2/3 this week. In their final weekend of play before the holiday break, the Wolverines battle No. 18 Bowling Green State in a home-and-home series this weekend. How do the Wolverines and Falcons match up as they renew their rivalry on the ice?

Series Notes
Records: Michigan (14-2-0, 9-1-0 CCHA), Bowling Green State (5-3-0, 8-4-0 CCHA)
Series vs. Bowling Green State: Michigan leads 69-32-3
Season Series: First Meeting
Series in Bowling Green: Michigan leads 25-18-3
Series in Ann Arbor: Michigan leads 40-14-0
Last Meeting: 3-2 Bowling Green State

U-M Offense vs. Bowling Green State Defense
F – Kevin Porter (16-10-26, +12)
F – Chad Kolarik (11-11-22, +10)
F – Aaron Palushaj (5-13-18, -1)
F – Max Pacioretty (5-10-15, +12)
F – Carl Hagelin (5-5-10, +9)

U-M Goals/Game: 4.1
U-M Shots/Game: 29.6

Bowling Green State Goals Allowed/Game: 2.3
Bowling Green State Shots Allowed/Game: 24.2

Outlook: Bowling Green State is off to a remarkable start to the new season. After having abysmal years the past two seasons, no one expected much out of the Falcons. Instead, Bowling Green State looks to be one of the schools competing for home ice advantage in the first round of the CCHA Tournament. Despite that, the Falcons haven't seen an offense like that of the Wolverines yet. Despite the Wolverines struggles in BGSU Ice Arena as of late, the offense should be able to put a few pucks into the back of the net.
Advantage: Michigan

Bowling Green State Offense vs. U-M Defense
F – Derek Whitmore (13-3-16, -1)
F – James Perkin (5-5-10, -1)
F – Jacob Cepis (4-7-11, -1)
F – Kevin Schmidt (3-10-13, +5)
F – Tim Maxwell (1-7-8, +5)

Bowling Green State Goals/Game: 3.3
Bowling Green State Shots/Game: 30.6

U-M Goals Allowed/Game: 2.1
U-M Shots Allowed/Game: 24.1

Outlook: Bowling Green State has improved dramatically on both ends of the ice, but Michigan's goalie play has also risen to the challenge. Will BGSU be able to put the puck in the net against one of the top defensive teams in the conference? I think that the Falcons struggle offensively with Kevin Porter's line shutting down Whitmore, one of the conferences more pleasant surprises.
Advantage: Michigan

Billy Sauer
Record: 13-2-0
GAA: 2.07
Save Percentage: .913

Bryan Hogan
Record: 1-0-0
GAA: 2.01
Save Percentage: .929

Bowling Green State
Jimmy Spratt
Record: 3-3-0
GAA: 2.50
Save Percentage: .901

Nick Eno
Record: 5-1-0
GAA: 2.16
Save Percentage: .906

Outlook: Both goalies for Michigan have numbers just a touch higher than those of the pair from BGSU, and they've done it against much better competition. As long as neither goalie gets rattled on the road, this looks like another U-M advantage.
Advantage: Michigan

U-M Power Play vs. Bowling Green State Penalty Kill
U-M Power Play: 21.8% (19-of-87)
U-M Shorthanded Goals Allowed: 1

Bowling Green State PK: 84.1% (58-of-69)
Bowling Green State Shorthanded Goals: 1
Bowling Green State PIM/Game: 17.2

Bowling Green State Power Play vs. U-M Penalty Kill
Bowling Green State Power Play: 27.8% (20-of-72)
Bowling Green State Shorthanded Goals Allowed: 3

U-M PK: 88.6% (78-of-88)
U-M Shorthanded Goals: 3
U-M PIM/Game: 18.1

Outlook: On paper, it appears as if the Falcons have an edge with special teams. I, however, am a bit skeptical because of the difference in competition level. As long as the Wolverines avoid taking too many penalties, it's a wash at worst.
Advantage: Push

Bowling Green State has been a thorn in Michigan's side forcing a split in each of the last two seasons. If Michigan can open the series with a win at BGSU Ice Arena, a building in which the team has lost two straight, it should be a sweep going into the GLI.
4-2 Michigan, 5-1 Michigan

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