Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Michigan Hockey: Michigan sweeps LSSU
Posted at 4:00pm -- 3/9/2010
Wolverines Sweep LSSU In First Round CCHA Action
Michigan took to heart the old sayings that “if you are given lemons, make lemonade.” That is exactly what they did this past weekend, blitzing a shorthanded LSSU Laker team in a best two out of three series. The Wolverines, trying to rinse the bitter taste of a 7th place conference finish out of their mouths, defeated the Lakers 5-2 on Friday, and totally dominated their opponents 6-0 on Saturday.
Shawn Hunwick stood tall in both victories, fending off an early wave from LSSU on both nights, backstoping Michigan to the wins. Louie Caporusso continues his torrid offensive pace, adding three goals and two assists to lead the Wolverine attack.
Friday night started out cautious for both teams with Michigan trying to protect their inexperienced netminder and LSSU reeling from a flu bug that had ravaged their lineup. The Lakers held their three top scorers (Chad Nehring, Will Acton and Rick Schofield) out of the lineup due to sickness, which also had coach Roque visibly ill during the game. Just the same, the Lake State squad made an initial push, forcing Hunwick to make several key saves during the first nine minutes of the period.
Michigan finally broke the ice at the 10:38 mark, as AJ Treais deposited a third rebound past LSSU goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson. David Wohlberg and Luke Glendening assisted on the play.
The second period opened up in much the same fashion, as Hunwick stopped a semi two-on-one break. Michigan counter-attacked and scored the second goal of the night off of the stick of David Wohlberg. He snapped in a rebound of a Luke Glendening shot. Louie Caporusso also assisted. Michigan forced the play in the period, but couldn’t dent the net any further. They held a 28-15 shot advantage after two periods.
The third period saw a three-goal outburst in the first five minutes of the frame. Michigan’s Matt Rust made a fine defensive play while forechecking, stripping the puck in front of the Laker net and whipping a shot home to give the Wolverines a 3-0 lead at the :37 second mark. Michigan then took two penalties simultaneously to give the Lakers a full two-minute 5x3 advantage. The Maize and Blue’s penalty killers did the job, but just as the infractions ended, the puck didn’t get completely cleared and was turned over in the neutral zone. The Lakers took advantage as the tired Michigan defenders were trying to change and it produced a 2x1 break into the zone. LSSU defenseman Steve Kaunisto decided to take a sharp angle shot that deflected in off of a Michigan defender’s (Treais) stick past Hunwick. Just :18 later, Brian Lebler got the goal back as he used a Chris Brown screen to snap a wrist shot past Mahoney-Wilson at 4:16.
LSSU kept working though, and the Lakers were rewarded at 11:54. Dillon Stonehouse wristed a shot from the left circle that appeared to deflect off of a Michigan stick and fooled Hunwick to bring the Lakers to within 4-2. Chris Summers responded with an empty net-power play goal at 18:56 to seal the deal. Michigan outshot the Lakers 43-23, and the Wolverines were 1-5 on the powerplay.
On Saturday night, the Wolverines expected a desperate effort from the Lakers who had both Acton and Schofield return to the lineup. Neither was a factor in the game, as Michigan posted three goals in the first period and another three in the second to run away from their opponent. The momentum, though, may have been different if not for the solid play of Hunwick, especially in the first eight minutes of the game. The Lakers were stopped on at least three point blank opportunities and had several others slither off of their sticks. Louie Caporusso was the offensive hero for Michigan, as he stole a clearing pass in the Laker end while in a 4x4 configuration, and fanned on his initial shot, but then circled the net and beat Mahoney-Wilson with a wrap around move to give Michigan a 1-0 lead at 6:37. Jeff Rohrkemper followed about eight minutes later with his first goal and first point as a Wolverine, taking a Chad Langlais pass in the slot and snapped a well placed shot high over Mahoney-Wilson’s glove at 14:00. Caporusso then closed out the outburst with another unassisted effort at 15:33, as he forced a shot into the net just as a Laker defenseman was sending the net off of its moorings. The goal was awarded after a lengthy review to extend the lead to 3-0.
Caporusso delighted the 6,008 fans at Yost by earning his hat trick at the :46 mark of the second period. He followed a rush into the Laker zone, received a nice pass from Wohlberg and lasered a shot to make it 4-0. Not to be outdone, Carl Hagelin potted a pair of goals, first at 14:18 and then at 16:49 to give Michigan an insurmountable 6-0 lead.
Hunwick made a handful of solid saves to preserve his shutout, as neither team scored the remainder of the game. He stopped 28 shots, while Pat Inglis replaced Mahoney-Wilson in the third period. Mahoney-Wilson stopped 28 of 34 shots, and Inglis stopped all 12 he faced. Both teams played a rather sedate game, with three minor penalties given to each.
The Lakers finished the season 15-18-5, while Michigan improved to 21-17-1. The Wolverines will now move on to the CCHA quarterfinals and will take on the MSU Spartans in a best two of three series in East Lansing next weekend.
Good to see both Brian Lebler and Chris Summers close out their career at Yost by scoring goals on Friday night. Defenseman Steve Kampfer also closed out his last game on home ice Saturday by assisting on a goal and posting a phenomenal +6 for the evening, as he was on the ice for all of Michigan’s goals.
Bryan Hogan had little to say about his injury status, telling yours truly that he is still very sore. He was walking very gingerly and the likelihood that he will play this coming weekend is going to hinge on his ability to practice. Don’t count him out, although the extent of his injury is unknown.
Chris Summers was also injured in the Saturday game, taking a knee to his thigh in the first period and was sat out for precautionary reasons for the remainder of the game. Summers told me after the game that his knee was “slightly loose” and his thigh was “tight”. Michigan officials reported that he had a “charley horse.” Losing him next weekend would be a severe blow, considering that he owns very good offensive numbers against MSU.
Speaking of MSU, the last time these two teams met in the CCHA playoffs OUTSIDE of the semi-finals, or final, was in 1987, when MSU swept Michigan in a best of three game series up in East Lansing. That was also the last year Michigan finished with a sub-.500 record. Michigan is trying to advance to the CCHA’s version of the Frozen Four for the 20th consecutive year and advance to the NCAA tournament for the 20th straight year. Michigan last played a road playoff series in 1988, losing to WMU 2 games to 1. Michigan last lost a home playoff series in 1989, getting beat 2 games to 1 by Bowling Green.
Michigan’s Pairwise ranking remains at 25th, meaning that they will still have to win the CCHA tournament to advance to the NCAA tournament.
Michigan’s Carl Hagelin and Louie Caporusso are now tied for the team lead in goals, both with 16.
A special Yostmeister shout-out is sent to all of my friends and fellow fans that attended games at Yost Arena this year, especially to my friend George in section 9, and to my row-mates in and around section 11. I’ll hopefully see all of you next season. Thank you for all of your kind remarks regarding GBMW and for reading my hockey musings.
Yostmeister three star selections:
1. Michigan - David Wohlberg - 1G and 1A
2. Michigan - Luke Glendening - 2A
3. Michigan - Louie Caporusso - 2A
1. Michigan - Louie Caporusso - 3G and just missed on two other chances
2. Michigan - Steve Kampfer - 1A, but bigger yet, the +6 rating for the maligned defenseman
3. Michigan - Shawn Hunwick - 28 saves in his third win and second shutout of the season in two weeks
Honorable Mention: Carl Hagelin for his 2 goals, and buzzing all night
Written by Yostmeister
Go Blue -- Wear Maize!