I don't know how long this ride is going to last, but I sure am enjoying it. The Wolverines ran their winning streak to 8, with 4-0 and 4-2 wins over Alaska this weekend. Interestingly enough, the Friday night game was closer than the score, and the Saturday game probably wasn't as close as the score indicated.
The Wolverines led just 1-0 deep into the third period Friday before goals less than a minute apart by Travis Turnbull and Aaron Palushaj broke the game open and Porter scored the dagger with under two minutes remaining. Billy Sauer made 15 saves for the shutout--which was nice because he usually gives up 1 or 2 when the shot total is low, making his save percentage look like junk.
While they didn't score a power play goal, the first PP unit did connect just after a penalty ended. And again it was Chad Langlais and Palushaj assisting on a goal by Kolarik. Those two have been extremely effective passing the puck with the man advantage.
Saturday night's game I got to watch thanks to the Wolv-TV feed--highlights here--albeit with six people staying in my apartment this weekend and watching college football as well, so sadly you're not getting any hard analysis on this one.
Kolarik had another good game, putting in two goals--the first on a backhanded off a sweet little feed from Pacioretty (Langlais also assisted, giving him 8 on the season and 7 in the last five games), the second on a quick shot after he stole a pass. Kampfer continued his strong offensive play with a gorgeous pass across the crease to Brandon Naurato give Michigan a 2-0 lead. We're getting pretty good at scoring goals off passes coming from the corner to the goalie's left. They've had a handful the past two weekends. Palushaj tallied another goal to give him the Michigan freshman scoring lead.
And yet another strong game for Sauer. I'm really not sure what to make of this. Solid goaltending was most definitely not something I was counting on, particularly with Hogan's illness, but Sauer has been fantastic in the first quarter of the season.
Solid, solid performances this weekend. UA was a team that we were supposed to beat, especially at home and they never trailed. The guys who are supposed to score, scored. The goalie played well, and they only gave up like 35 shots in the two games combined. Next up is LSSU, where we haven't played a series in over a decade due to the Joe Louis Arena games. It's another team we're supposed to beat (they're 2-5-1, 0-2-0 and just split with Wayne State) but it's on the road in a tough environment.
The sweep, coupled with Miami's split against Notre Dame, means that we are just two points out of first place in the CCHA with 2 games in hand. We stayed at #2 in the USCHO poll, but grabbed 22 first place votes (out of 50) and sit just 3 points behind the #1 Redhawks. The USA Today poll has not come out as of this writing.