Tonight's game against the Under 18 team may have not counted in the standings, but it provided yet another teensy-tiny bit of evidence that maybe things are different this year. I know this isn't the best team the Americans have iced by any means, but unlike previous years where we've struggled against our "cross-town rivals", this year the Wolverines showed up and dominated from the get-go. The USA kids are almost always jacked up for this one, so it was nice to see Michigan take it to them.
Amongst the regulars, Billy Sauer, Travis Turnbull, Carl Hagelin, and Chad Langlais were given the night off. I believe Turnbull hurt his ankle in the GLI Championship, but he scored the game-winner that night, so I imagine it's not too bad.
It was nice to see guys like Naurato and Lebler making an impact offensively. I imagine they got more ice-time than normal tonight, and they made the most of it. Ben Winnett also got into the act, scoring a PPG.
Scooter Vaughan has been playing very well as of late and he was a game high +3 tonight (and was actually on the ice for four of our five goals).
Even the "bad" was kind of a good thing. USA's only goal was scored by Robbie Czarnik, who will be at Michigan next year, and one of the assists went to David Wohlberg, who will be joining him.
Bryan Hogan was perfect in 40 minutes, stopping all 14 shots he faced. Shawn Hunwick got in for the first time, and he allowed 1 goal on 12 shots in the period he played.
One thing that was different is that for this game, they experimented with the soon-to-be-disastrous 2 referee system. I didn't watch the game, so I don't have a comment on it, but I don't see how this is going to work with the state of the officiating in this conference.
Last item of note for tonight: Future defenseman (2008 or 2009? Who knows...) Greg Pateryn
was named to the USHL All-Star Team. He has 2 goals and 8 assists in 27 games this year and is a -2 for a pretty bad Ohio team. He also leads the team with 70 PIMs.