The Daily sat down with Michigan coach Mel Pearson on Monday and pulled out a hockey whiteboard.
“Okay good,” Pearson said. “Some X’s and O’s.”
Pearson drew up the intricacies of a play from last weekend’s matchup against Lake Superior State that led to a Jack Summers goal. He broke down where players went with the puck, what they were thinking with the play they made and how it all went down — with the X’s and O’s on a whiteboard.
The Daily deciphered the board and pieced together a series of drawings that represent what Pearson had to show.
Here’s what he drew up.
Saturday, the Lakers scored back-to-back goals in the second period to bring their deficit to 3-2. With tension in the air and momentum against them, the Wolverines breathed a sigh of relief when Summers scored an insurance goal to bring the Michigan lead back up to two. The sophomore defenseman’s tally would later turn into the game-winner after Lake Superior State scored a third, the final score, 4-3.
TMD: I was wondering if you could walk us through what happened with Jack Summers’ goal. Starting from the point when it was brought into the zone.
Pearson: Yeah. So what happened is, the thing about Summers’ goal is the shot itself. You see a lot of guys when they receive the puck, the first instant is you take it from your forehand to your backhand and then back to your forehand. And even just that split second, it allows a goalie to get in position or slide over.
Pearson: And you see Summers, he just goes in. You’ll see (sophomore forward Nolan) Moyle, if you look at a two-on-one, gets it here, but instead of just shooting, he gets it and then he goes like this — brings it back like that, and then shoots. Summers, when you watch him, just comes in and just shoots it. So the goalie is moving in and it’s not a great shot. It’s not top shelf. I mean it sort of beats him here, but the goalie’s moving and he just can’t stop it. He’s not set and it just beats him because he got it away too quick.
Pearson: But on the goal, it happened to be a two-on-one, so they’re like this, (junior forward) Mike Pastujov and (freshman forward Johnny Beecher), who tries to pass it. Instead he probably should have went and shot it.
Pearson: So (Summers) is coming up, like we tell one of our defenseman to be the fourth player in the rush. So he’s coming in here and Becker’s on this side and Becker comes in later but after the pass fails, it goes in the corner.
Pearson: Mikey goes and stays with it. Beecher comes with him, so Beecher picks it up at this point after the failed pass across. He just bumps it to Mike Pastujov. Mike’s here and we actually have it sorted… it’s like a two-on-one down low, so his defenseman is here and they don’t have a guy back.
Pearson: Jack just sneaks in here and they have two guys that come back too hard. Beecher’s drifted into this position. Sort of this lane or gap here. Mikey sees it and (Summers) just finds the open ice, and comes in here and does it.
Pearson: But he’s aware because he is the fourth guy up on the rush, but he’s not. He doesn’t get too involved and then when he sees Mike actually have some time and space, he jumps into a lane and a hole there. I mean it’s a really good shot so like I said, the important thing is you know they stayed after the puck, these two guys. Jack is patient. He doesn’t jump in too soon to close down the lane or jump into coverage.
Pearson: A lot of times, we shrink the zone too much for a defenseman, so they’ll move down into coverage. You know, if he does get a pass like this, they got a guy right here and he blocks so that you don’t have any room. He was more patient. The coverage shrunk down on Becker here and when it comes to him, he’s got time and space to shoot it. So it’s a good play.
TMD: How hard of a read is that for Mike Pastujov to make?
Pearson: It was a lot of things going on. And I think first, he had to get the puck and then get his head up in order to realize he had time and space. Then once you get that, Mike’s really good. He’s got really good hockey vision and sense, which you can’t teach. You try to work on it, but it’s hard to teach. I think it just wasn’t easy for him, but wasn’t the hardest, hardest play. It’s sort of mid-level, you know. Toughness and understanding about what’s going on on the ice, who’s open and and then you have to make the play too. You have to execute. I mean, we had a three-on-one. You can tell when they don’t make the play, it’s a bad pass or something. Mike makes a good pass there. And that’s the other thing I mean, there’s a good shot, but it was a good pass. A nice pass where he put it in an area where Jack could just one-time it.