It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. And when you're down 2-0 halfway through the first period, getting a win is really all that matters.
The Wolverines pulled one out tonight thanks to a goal from Tim Miller with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the third period. It's great to see Miller score a huge goal in the first game after the way he started last season. You know he feels like a million bucks right now.
Assisting on that goal was Eric Elmblad. Forced into the lineup due to injuries to Llewellyn and Burlon and seeing more ice-time due to the injury to Mark Mitera, Elmblad was out on the ice late in the game and he managed the first point of his career when Turnbull's rebound was buried by Miller.
It sounded like Michigan had a friendly whistle from Mark Wilkens tonight, yet they went 0 for 10 on the power play, which just isn't going to get it done. Jim Hunt commented that Wilkens wouldn't have been allowed to leave the building if he called penalties on Michigan like he called on SLU.
The other thing that was nice to see tonight was that Ben Winnett potted one. He scored in the exhibition season as well, and, after a pretty good finish to last season, he may be showing signs of turning into the player he was supposed to be, coming out of the BCHL.
There was a lot of talk about how Michigan might not have that dominant line, but I really think we might have one with Hagelin-Rust-Palushaj. Those are all great players, two of them are dominant defensively, they can forecheck like crazy, they can all put the puck in the net, and all of them can use their teammates. The other thing that I like is that Rust is a fantastic faceoff man and when he gets tossed from the circle, Hagelin is very good as well. That means a lot of possessions for our top line when they're on the ice. Think about what Kolarik/Porter/Pacioretty could have done if they had had the puck 10-15% more often.
The excitement of the win has to be tempered by the injuries to our defensemen. Anytime I hear "knee injury" and "helped off the ice" I think the worst, so I'm not going to rest easy until I hear how Mitera is. It hurts not having Burlon as well. It sounds like the youngsters held up pretty well though. Elmblad and Pateryn were actually paired together late in the game.
That's about it for tonight. Hopefully we'll hear good news on Mitera. Tomorrow's faceoff is at 7:35 and the game can be seen on Comcast 900.