Monday, November 23, 2009
Michigan Hockey: Splits weekend series with BG
MICHIGAN HOCKEY SPLITS WEEKEND SERIES WITH BG
The Michigan hockey program has slumped into their worst slide since the ’88-’89 season, splitting a H&H series with the BG Falcons this past weekend. Michigan, delicately in control at Yost Ice Arena through two periods Friday, fell victim to early third period discipline issues and ended up giving up three goals in a span of 2:22, two of them PP goals, to go on to lose 4-2. The Wolverines rebounded on Saturday, downing the Falcons 4-1 in Toledo.
Michigan started out strong Friday, as it has done in most of their home games this season, with Louie Caporusso netting a mid first period goal to put the Maize and Blue up 1-0. Caporusso took a nice center ice feed while on the PP, deked several BG defenders before sliding the puck through BG netminder Nick Eno for his second marker of the season @ 10:59. Play was sloppy at best the remainder of the period until a neutral ice turnover allowed BG’s David Solway to come into the Michigan zone and fire a shot that AJ Treais blocked at the crease. Solway found the puck as it lay at Treais’ feet and chipped it up over Bryan Hogan for a 1-1 tie with just over a minute left in the period.
Michigan failed to capitalize on several good chances in the second period, clanking a post and forcing the play on BG. Finally, Michigan regained the momentum after Lindsay Sparks corralled a loose puck at the BG blueline, gained the zone and fed a charging Robbie Czarnik, who strode in to the top of the right circle and laced a perfect wrister over the trapper of Nick Eno and just under the crossbar, for a 2-1lead with 1:01 left on the clock.
The third stanza started auspiciously as freshman defenseman Lee Moffie took an ill advised tripping penalty. Late in the penalty, and as BG controlled play in the Michigan zone, Steve Kampfer crosschecked a BG forward drifting to a loose puck in the corner, setting up a twelve second 5x3 advantage. BG promptly won the draw, and Senior Kyle Page drilled a well placed slapper from the top of the slot past a screened Bryan Hogan to tie the game at 2-2. BG charged back into the zone from the resulting faceoff and quickly went to work. An initial shot was deflected wide of the net, hit a player in front and bounced to an unguarded BG player (Tommy Dee) who deposited it into a half empty net @ 4:52. Before Michigan could re-group, BG continued to pressure the offensive zone, and forced a defensive turnover. Hogan made a stop on the initial shot but his rebound bounced into the slot where an unguarded Evan Perkin cruised in unmolested and scored at the 6:00 mark.
Michigan couldn’t penetrate BG’s trap style defensive posture and BG went on the secure their 3rd victory of the season.
An exasperated Coach Berenson: “The strength of our team up until now has been the penalty killing. We couldn’t kill that 5x3, not even close. Then they score on the 5x4. It’s just too easy. All of a sudden it’s a whole new game. Goals have been hard to come by for us of late and now we just couldn’t come from behind.”
On Saturday night, a different Michigan hockey team came out of the locker room. Three first period goals help end a five game losing streak for the Wolverines. Carl Hagelin opened the scoring early for Michigan, deflecting a Brandon Burlon point shot at 2:18. AJ Treais banged in a goal from the edge of the crease to extend the lead to 2-0 at the 11:07 mark. David Wohlberg and Louie Caporusso added assists on the goal. BG got back into the game when Michigan’s sloppy neutral ice play resulted in a breakaway opportunity. Falcon freshman Marc Rodriguez converted the chance, finishing over Hogan’s glove for a 2-1 score at 15:38. But, contrary to folding the tent as they have in recent games, Michigan responded just over a minute later when Brian Lebler capitalized on a BG turnover and beat Nick Eno with a wrister to extend the lead to 3-1. Seldom used Senior Anthony Ciraulo was credited with an assist. Michigan finished the period with a 16-4 shot advantage.
The second stanza provided no scoring, although Michigan continued to pressure BG and limited their shots toward Hogan. The third period, though, swung toward BG as Michigan again took an early penalty allowing BG a chance to climb back. This time, though, Michigan was tall to the task and Hogan was strong in goal, preserving the two goal lead. Chris Brown, Michigan’s freshman points leader, extended the lead to 4-1, tallying his sixth goal of the year, a PP one timer with 7:00 left in the game. BG had one more opportunity to mount a comeback as U-M’s Brian Lebler took an ill advised 5:00 major/HFB and game misconduct penalty. But, Michigan killed the penalty and was aided in the last two minutes by a BG penalty to ice the game.
Coach Berenson is happy to get the losing streak behind him:
“This was a devastating stretch. We knew these were good teams, but we still expected to win more than our share of games. We didn’t expect to lose four out of five home games. And we worked hard to prepare for those games. It’s been a tough stretch, and we have to stick together through it all. We haven’t turned the corner, but we definitely stopped the bleeding. When Michigan plays five games and scores only six goals, I can’t in my long-term memory remember that. We need to score goals to win games, and it was good to see the puck go in tonight.” He also added: “That’s the best game our team has given our goalie and when Hogan had to stand tall, he gave us a good game in the third.”
Berenson held out Senior defenseman Tristan Llewellyn from Friday night’s game. Freshman Lee Moffie was in the lineup. Moffie and Freshman Lindsay Sparks were sat out Saturday night in favor of Llewellyn and Anthony Ciraulo.
Michigan displayed some restraint in taking penalties this weekend, but the timing of those penalties is what hurt them Friday night. In total, they took 10 penalties for 31 minutes, with Brian Lebler accounting for 15 minutes for his undisciplined play on Saturday night. Llewellyn added to his totals with a minor Saturday as well.
The special teams were any thing but special: Michigan’s PP was 2-7 on the weekend, which all things considered, wasn’t too bad. Their PK was 2-8, but cost them the game on Friday night.
Michigan got a dose of BG freshman and leading scorer, Jordon Samuels-Thomas. He assisted on two of BG’s four goals on Friday. He and his linemates were shut down on Saturday. BG was held to 12 shots on goal on Saturday night in what I could describe as one of Michigan’s better defensive outings of the season.
Yostmeister three star selections for the weekend:
1. BG-Jordan Samuels-Thomas- 2 A on the night and a physical force on the PP
2. BG-David Solway-1G and 1A
3. BG-Tommy Dee- 1G and 1 A
1. U-M-Louie Caporusso- 1 G Friday (best U-M player on the ice) and two big assists on Saturday
2. U-M-Chris Brown- strong physical play to go with his goal and assist on Saturday
3. U-M-Brandon Burlon- assisted on the first goal Saturday and was key on limiting BG offensive chances.
Michigan and BG will again meet in a H&H series in February.
Michigan (5-7-0 / 3-5-0 CCHA) will meet Minnesota and Wisconsin next weekend at Yost Ice Arena in the annual College Hockey Showcase.
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Written by GBMW -- Yostmeister