Found December 01, 2012 on Shutdown Line:
Something you may have noticed is that I haven't posted any updates on Carolina's NCAA prospects in a couple weeks. The reason for this is because there are usually only two games per weekend in the college rankings and with only five players to track, there isn't much to say about them unless they had a big performance. This is especially true if you don't have a chance to watch any of their games, which has been the case for me and the Hurricanes NCAA prospects this year. That is, until last night when I tuned into NBC Sports to watch the Wisconsin/Denver game featuring Carolina's 2012 fifth round draft pick Brendan Woods.  Woods isn't one of the team's highly regarded prospects and he is only a borderline top-six player on a struggling Wisconsin Badgers squad, but getting a closer look at him to dissect the pros and cons of his playing style is never a bad thing. Watching this game also gives us a chance to look at some other team's prospects as there were many NHL draft picks playing in this game and keep an eye on some players who might be entering the draft this summer. This also gives me a chance to finally do some statistical tracking with college hockey, which is something that's been on my to-do list for awhile. Better late than never, I suppose.  After the jump, I will breakdown the Denver/Wisconsin game a little bit and point out some things in Woods' performance that stood out to me. The Game The Badgers entered this contest with only one win under their belts and were about to take on the fifth ranked team in the nation and a very good home team in the Denver University Pioneers. Given that and how anemic Wisconsin's offense has looked this season, many expected them to be blown out, but they actually gave Denver a good battle and ended up tying them 1-1. They were very close to pulling off the upset, as they had a 1-0 lead with less than 90 seconds remaining in the game but Denver's Joey LaLeggia was able to sneak a sharp angle shot past Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel to tie the game. All points are important, but I'm sure the Badgers would have much preferred getting the win in this situation because they actually played a very solid game. They outshot Denver 33-31 overall, 29-25 at even strength and had a commanding lead in even strength shot attempts with a 67-51 advantage. Wisconsin had a very solid gameplan for Denver's high-powered offense and were in good position to win the game until the last two minutes. It has to be frustrating that they let this one slip away but judging from what I saw, this Badgers team is much better than their record shows. I think Wisconsin played a good game overall and well enough to win this kind of game, but the shot totals are a bit deceptive. Despite outshooting Denver in all phases of the game, they actually came out on the lesser end in terms of scoring chances. Note: Chances are color coded as the team's school colors. This shows overall chances for both teams and not from one team's perspective. I feel that is a bit easier to understand for this post. Wisconsin only created 12 scoring chances during this game and over half of them came in the final period where they scored their only goal. The problem with the Badgers game plan is that while they were controlling the play, they were not getting many good shots away. Most of their shots came from bad angles or were too far away to be considered scoring chances. This isn't counting the dozens of other shots they had blocked or fanned on. A prime example of this came in the first period where the Badgers had a two-on-one opportunity where the shooter ended up fanning on the shot. Wisconsin was able to forecheck well and at least control possession but they had some major trouble with finishing their chances. Their only goal coming off a deflection in front kind of sums up how their night went. The third period was the only frame where the Badgers seem to open things up and produce a lot of offense and it came with some mixed results. Wisconsin generated more chances that period but they also gave up a lot to Denver, as well. Granted, the Pioneers had a powerplay during the third period so that's partially why, but Denver still matched them in even strength chances. Before that period, the Badgers did a fine job of limiting Denver's chances at even strength and managed not to get destroyed in terms of scoring chances. As I said earlier, the Badgers were the team controlling play but they had trouble making the most of their time with the puck. Wisconsin Individual Shot & Chance Numbers Another problem the Badgers had was that they weren't getting any production at all from their bottom-six, as all of their chances came from their top-two lines with the exception of defenseman Jake McCabe. They had players who were forechecking will and getting decent zone time, but they weren't getting many dangerous shots away. Michael Mercsh was the Badgers' lone goal-scorer and he may have been their best player not named Joel Rumpel. He was definitely their most effective offensive player with nine shot attempts and three scoring chances produced during even strength play. His goal may have come off a deflection, but he deserves any praise he gets for the game he played. Nic Kerdiles looked pretty solid in his first game back from a suspension. He looked relatively strong in the offensive zone and was one of their few players who was able to produce at least a couple of quality chances. Ramage had a pretty good night with 10 shot attempts, three shots and earned an assist when his shot from the point deflected off Mersch for the Badgers' only goal. I haven't been following his performance this year, but he was one of Wisconsin's better players when it came to defensive play and he definitely got himself involved at the other end, too. Dahl was quiet for most of the game but he had the best chance of the night, when he had a breakaway out of the penalty box with less than a minute left in overtime. Denver Individual Shot & Scoring Chance Numbers The NBC Crew mentioned a few times that Denver has one of the most dangerous and aggressive defense corps in the nation. They sort of lived up to that billing tonight as their blue-liners produced six chances and their only goal of the game. Three of those chances came from David Makowski, who did a lot of damage at even strength and led the team in shots on goal. Denver didn't have many standouts tonight but I thought Matt Tabrum was their most impressive player, as he gave the Badgers defense a lot of trouble with his speed and dynamic play. Nick Shore also had a strong offensive showing with eight shot attempts but only one of them was a legit scoring chance. I think this is where you have to give the Badgers defense some credit, as they didn't allow many of the Pioneers forwards to get to them too badly. Building off the last point, it's worth noting that Denver had a much more balanced attack compared to Wisconsin so they were able to get at least some production from most of their lines. You can see that Shore, Tabrum, Larraza and Knowlton were all able to produce a decent amount of offense while some of their lower lines players such as Ty Loney also chipped in. Thoughts on Woods Woods was the third line center for this game, so he was primarly used in a forechecking type of role and he did his job all things considered. He was able to get the puck deep into the Denver zone on multiple occasions and win battles along the boards to help keep the puck there. This is about all he did that stood out, though as he didn't do much in terms of producing offense and wasn't used on the PK either. Sure, he had five shot attempts, but only two got on net and those came from bad angles that are easy stops for just about any goaltender. He also got knocked off the puck in open ice relatively easily on a few occasions. This was kind of strange to me because he didn't have much trouble when it came to playing physical along the boards. Woods also went 3/7 on faceoffs, winning two of those in the first period and the coaches didn't really have any specific areas or situations that they used him in. I was a little surprised that he wasn't used on the PK because he plays a checking-line role and has very sound position and defensive instincts, but I guess the coaches don't full trust him there yet. That probably relates to his poor face-off percentage, as the PK is one of the few areas where winning face-offs is crucial. The best shift for Woods was either his first one of the game where he forced a turnover off a bad pass or his fifth shift of the second period when he was able to win a battle for the puck along the boards and make an initial pass to set up two shots on goal. His worst shift was his first one of the second period where he made a wayward pass in the neutral zone that ended up resulting in a turnover the other way. He also took a blow to the head from a Denver player in the second period but appeared to be no worse for wear after it. So, in other words, Woods didn't do anything game-breaking in any fashion but he had a decent performance for a third-liner at this level. Shot data taken from Denver University's stat site
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Gordon proves UW ground game will endure

INDIANAPOLIS Melvin Gordon couldn't help but hear the unrest from Wisconsin football fans displeased with his lack of touches this season. If he was really being honest with himself, he knew a running back with his talent was capable of so much more than he'd been given the opportunity to show. But he also knew running backs at Wisconsin don't appear on campus and instantly...

Wisconsin crushes Nebraska in route to 3rd straight Rose Bowl

Ummmmm.... Yea, about that close game and about Nebraska dominating the Badgers. We didn't mean any of that, we swear.  Signed, Mark May and the rest of college football pundits O.k, now that we got that out of the way we aren't going to bore you with the inner workings of Wisconsin's Reauchambeauing (sp) of the Huskers. Instead we'll leave with the records...

Video: Wisconsin thumps Nebraska for Big 10 title

INDIANAPOLIS –Wisconsin got it done on the ground as they crucified No. 13 Nebraska 70-31 in the Big Ten championship game. James White and Montee Ball combined for seven rushing touchdowns on Saturday as the Badgers qualified for their third straight Rose Bowl.  Please Click Here To Read This Story & Watch Video Highlights

Badgers offense dominates in historic night

INDIANAPOLIS Sometimes, you show up to a stadium or turn on the television with absolutely no idea how a game will play out. Pundits say it should be close, but who really knows until they take the field? That's the beauty of sports. Wisconsin entered Saturday's Big Ten championship against Nebraska as a slight underdog and unloaded on the Cornhuskers with an offensive...

2012 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW: HOW WISCONSIN WINS

  Earlier in the day we looked at the anatomy of a Nebraska win, now we must look at how Wisconsin can win and get to their third straight Rose Bowl. How Wisconsin Wins on Saturday? 1) Contain T-Mart: Taylor Martinez had a great game in the September 29th meeting between these two teams; he passed for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns and also ran 13 times for 107 yards and...

Badgers make history in 70-31 Big Ten Championship win over Huskers

It's safe to say no one saw this one coming, no seriously, if you did you can put your hand down now because you are simply lying or have the ultimate Cardinal and White glasses on. Either way there is no way around this one, Wisconsin simply curb stomped their way into the record books in a 70-31 route of Nebraska. It's safe to say that not many can say the Badgers didn...

Ball helps Badgers rush past No. 14 Nebraska

Montee Ball ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns and the Badgers scored seven touchdowns on their first nine possessions, blowing out No. 14 Nebraska 70-31 to win their third straight, and most improbable, Big Ten title on Saturday night.

5 Badgers Things to Watch for - The Big Ten Championship edition

It almost seemed inevitable that Wisconsin would be sitting right where they are this week, you know representing the Leaders division in Indianapolis. However, the journey there wasn't exactly what any of us would have imagined it to be. That said we have a shot to do something no other team in Wisconsin history has ever done - win three straight Big Ten football championships...

Sunday Morning Hangover: This Rose Bowl smells sweeter for Badgers

(photo courtesy AP) I don't know about you, but for myself the past two Rose Bowl seasons have been amazing journeys full of ups and downs, what could've beens and all that comes with it. But, this one, this 3rd one in a row, well it just smells and tastes that much sweeter. No doubt the Badgers had to overcome certain things in 2010 and 2011 to get to the championship...

The Future is Now

Often the third tailback in Wisconsin's deep arsenal, redshirt freshman Melvin Gordon took his 56 yards for a touchdown and never slowed down. Finishing with career and team-high 216 yards on only nine carries, Gordon's first-half spark ignited the offense to another conference championship.

BCS update: Where do we go?

Don’t feel safe Oklahoma fans. Don’t feel safe at all. It all started with rival Nebraska’s teeth-ticking loss to the 7-5 Wisconsin Badgers BCS Harris Poll USA Today Computer Rankings RK TEAM AVG PVS RK PTS % RK PTS % AVG A&H RB CM KM JS PW % 1 Notre Dame .9979 1 1 2869 [...]
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.