Western clawed back into the game, scoring two goals in the second-half of the second period, despite only registering five shots on goals. But the Wolverines actually had a replay go their way for a change to bump the margin back up to two late in the game. Hagelin added an empty-netter, and Michigan had themselves a 5-2 victory.
I only got to see about 7 minutes of the game, but we didn't look remotely rusty. The play we ended up scoring on on the 5-on-3 was a thing of beauty. The spacing was great and they kept running the puck through Palushaj at the back of the net until he found Langlais wide open at about the dot. Langlais fired a laser to the back of the net.
Michigan had another chance just a few moments later as David Wohlberg sent a gorgeous pass to a streaking Louie Caporusso, who was in all alone and rung one off the top of the crossbar. He had Gill beat, but shot it too high.
It's not all that often that the losing goaltender, who gives up four in the process, is the #2 star of the game, but Gill made 43 saves and by all accounts was the only reason Michigan wasn't up by five or six goals in the first period alone. I forget who it was on, but he made a phenomenal pad save on a pass through the slot, robbing one of our players--Turnbull perhaps?
The final shots in the game were 48-18 Michigan, and yet with 3 1/2 minutes to go in regulation it was a one-goal game.
Matt Rust had himself a goal, an assist, was +2, and was 16 out of 20 on faceoffs. Hagelin had 2-1--3, eight shots on goal, was +3, and scored a short-handed game-winner. And their linemate Palushaj had himself three assists. Pretty good night for that line.
The Bronco Hockey Blog was prophetic earlier in the week...at least about what happened last night:
And what will Michigan be able to do this weekend? They could very well score 5+ goals a night, even with Gill on his game. Their defense will keep the puck out of their own end much of the game and will prevent the Broncos from setting up on offense more then a handful of times. Michigan, by virtue of having the home ice advantage, will get the last line change and will be able to shut down the Galivan, Squires, Campbell line forcing Culhane to find some scoring elsewhere while being faced with some bad match-ups.Here are thoughts on last night's game from the WMU perspective.
A solid accomplishment would be for the Broncos to extend the series to 3 games with a win either Friday of Saturday... but most likely would be a Michigan sweep. A Bronco series win would be a huge upset but, while possible, is an unrealistic expectation.
UofM wins 5-2 each night.
Tonight I would expect something similar. Michigan with a huge shot advantage. If Gill stands on his head, it's close and WMU has a shot to be in the game. If he's not, Michigan wins by a huge margin.
Fox Sports Detroit tonight, and if you're going to the game, note the 7:05 start time.