Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michigan 3, Niagara 2

Well that was thoroughly uninspiring.

After a great start to the game--two goals, and POWER PLAY(!!!) goals to boot--in the first 3 1/2 minutes, and a gorgeous play by Kampfer and Lebler to set up a Czarnik goal, things quickly went downhill. The Wolverines were probably fortunate to get out of this one with a 3-2 victory in the home opener.

AJ Treais got Michigan on the board early in the first. Didn't get home from work in time to catch the start, so I turned it on right when we had taken a 1-0 lead.

The second goal came when Burlon and Pateryn played catch out at the point. Pateryn eventually let one rip and the puck deflected to Matt Rust. Rust fed Carl Hagelin down by the goal mouth and, with the goalie down, he had quite a bit to shoot at. Nice goal.

Czarnik would put the Wolverines up 3-0. Kampfer led the rush and dropped the puck to Brian Lebler just inside the blueline. Kampfer drove to the net down the right wing side and Lebler got the puck back to him. Kampfer sent one cross-crease to Czarnik for an easy goal. But it was great to see him score it. He's already off to a better start than last year.

After that, it was just kind of an ugly hockey game. Lots of penalties, nothing going on the power play, and a couple of chances for Niagara late that could have tied the game.

The Purple Eagles got back within two late in the first when Hogan stopped a shot and pushed the rebound back into the slot. It got tipped to his left and the Niagara player had a pretty easy goal.

Michigan had a couple of nice chances early in the second that they couldn't convert on. Wohlberg hit the post off a beautiful feed from Caporusso. That play was started by Llewellyn coming right out of the penalty box and killing the puck-carrier.

The Wolverines had another power play and controlled the puck for almost the entire two minutes but didn't get a whole lot out of it. Lynch took a silly charging penalty, but the Wolverines killed that off. Burlon fed Caporusso on a home-run pass, but Cappy got stoned.

During a later power play, the Wolverines somehow gave up a 2 on 0 the other way. Hogan robbed the guy with his blocker, but lost his stick in the process. It almost looked like he dropped it to try and catch the puck with his blocker hand. Langlais gave Hogan his own stick while Niagara controled the puck in our end for a good 20-30 seconds. Eventually Langlais got beat by his man and the pass got to him for a goal.

Each team had a few chances in the third, but both Hogan and Avramenko made stops and Michigan held on for the 3-2 win.

That Avramenko kid was something else. He robbed Vaughan, Rust, Glendening, and Rohrkemper in the third period alone.

Another play that should get singled out. Vaughan had a great pass to Caporusso to set him up with an empty-netter, but Ross on Niagara busted his hump to get back and lift Caporusso's stick right as he was going to put the game away. That kept Niagara alive. Just a great play.

Other notables:
-I thought Scooter Vaughan was very good. They moved him up to the top line to play with Caporusso and Wohlberg, and he definitely held his own. For a guy who's been a defenseman for a long time, he didn't look a bit out of place. Had some great chances, set up a couple of his teammates....I think I noticed him more in that game than I did the rest of his career combined (and it's a compliment that I didn't notice him much his freshman season).

-Someone needs to track how many times I write this, but it's one of the true joys in sports to get to watch Carl Hagelin kill penalties. Him and Rust are so fun when they're out there.

-Before the final faceoff, Niagara had 7 skaters on the ice. Their center got tossed from the draw and someone noticed the extra guy and got him off the ice. Don't think I've ever seen that before. Though, if it was anything like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the refs would just warn them that they had too many guys so one could go to the bench.

-A would-be Niagara goal was reviewed in the first period but I don't think the puck ever crossed the line. Regardless, the Niagara player was called for goalie interference on the play, so I'm not really sure why it mattered if it went in or not. Doesn't seem like that should stand. This isn't NHL 95 on Super NES when you could just crash into the goalie, have the puck go in, take the penalty, and have the goal count.

-I really liked the Rohrkamper, Glendening, Lynch line at times. They had a couple of really good shifts where they mucked around, dug the puck out and created something. They got robbed three times late in the game.

-We had a LOT of powerplays and didn't get a whole lot going outside of the two goals early on. At one point, we went 3 or 4 straight PPs without a shot on goal.

That's all I've got. BU tonight, and you should be able to see the game via PPV on the Terrier website. I'm not going to be able to catch this one...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wolverines Split Opening Weekend

Sorry for the lack of coverage. It's gonna be quiet around these parts until the start of November--lots of work stuff going on.

Michigan dropped their season opener by a 2-0 score to the Alaska Nanooks. I didn't get to catch all the game on the radio, but it sounded like a combination of not many scoring chances and Scott Greenham being there when they needed him. Michigan outshot Alaska 23-13, but couldn't solve the Nanook netminder.

The next night, Michigan took out their frustrations on the WCHA's Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. The Wolverines scored three in the first and two in the second en route to a 5-0 lead before cruising to a 6-1 victory. Chris Brown, Matt Rust, and Carl Hagelin combined for four goals in an outstanding performance out of that line. Brown and Hagelin were each +3 on the night and Rust was +2.

Another positive was that the power play was 2-3 on the night, with one goal for Hagelin and one for Lebler. Hogan made 15 saves in the victory. MHNet has some goal descriptions.

Michigan will take on Niagara Thursday night before heading to Boston to take on the defending National Champions on Saturday. Hopefully we'll have a better performance than we did in Beantown last year.

I've heard that the Niagara game will be televised on Fox College Sports. Sadly, I don't think the BU game is going to be televised, though I think BU has pay per view on their website. There's a "Watch" hyperlink on BU's site for the game, as well.

Other stuff:
MHNet has a story about high-level talks within the Big Ten about starting a Big Ten Hockey Conference. Ohio State is said to be in favor of it and Wisconsin sounds to be in favor as well. A point that was made that's a very good one is that starting a BTHC would open college hockey up to further expansion. Right now, the CCHA has one slot open but that's the only conference that has any room for another team. Spreading out the teams would open the sport to expansion. That's something at least.

Derek DeBlois is off to a good start in the USHL. After seven games, DeBlois ranks 7th in league scoring and is tops in +/-, with a 2-4--6 line and a +7 ranking.

JMFC was stellar in defeat against the defending champion Terriers, making 39 stops (!) in a 3-2 loss. He also made 27 saves in a 7-2 win over BGSU.

Campbell was profiled in an article on about the top prospects playing in the USHL this year.

"His demeanor and how he carries himself in practice and off the ice says a lot about how he plays the game when he gets on the ice," said Ron Rolston, who coached Campbell on the U.S. U-17 team last season. "He just showed a lot of poise, especially in those big games with big crowds against excellent opponents."

Lucas Lessio has a 12-13--25 line in 13 games, along with 3 game-winners for St. Michael's.

Alex Guptill has a 5-5--10 line in 7 games for the Brampton Capitals, including a 3-1--4 line in a 6-5 win last week. He's two points out of the team lead in scoring, despite having played seven fewer games.

Mac Bennett has 1-1--2 for Cedar Rapids, and is +2 in five games.

That's all for now. I'm on a business trip for a week and a half starting on Friday, so I don't know what kind of coverage there will be for the upcoming weekend or the CCHA-openers against LSSU. We'll see. Things should calm down after that.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

10 Things to Know About the Alaska Schools

The Wolverines leave the lower-48 to open the season this weekend. Friday night's game is against the Alaska Nanooks. That game will start at 9:07 ET. There is no streaming video for that one. Michigan will finish the weekend against WCHA-foe Alaska-Anchorage with a game at 11:07 ET Saturday. MGoBlue indicates there may be streaming video at

Here are 10 things to know about the Kendall Hockey Classic.

1) Alaska won their only exhibition game by a 6-1 score over Southern Alberta IT. I think Minnesota scheduled them in football next year. Scott Greenham stopped 21 shots as he tries to take over for Hobey-finalist Chad Ochocinco. Greenham is a sophomore who played in five games last year and was 3-0-1 with a 1.02/.958. He shut out UConn and Mercyhurst, gave up one goal on 32 shots against FYS, and gave up a pair of goals against NMU and OSU. It sounds like the Nanooks will probably be in good hands in net once again.

2) Alaska returns eight of their top ten scorers, including their leading scorer--senior Dion Knelsen, who had 10-12--22 a year ago. Brother Brandon had 4-10--14 a year ago, but had three assists in their exhibition win. There are a pair of Molle's on the blueline. Both Dustin and Bryant saw action in 39 games last year. They lost both players that had more than two game-winners a year ago. 4 out of Ryan Hohl's eight goals last year were on the power play. Hohl is a transfer from Bowling Green, who is one of the many players to come out of Northville, MI.

3) Freshman Jarret Granberg is a little waterbug who was co-MVP of the AJHL last year, with a 42-44--86 line and 15 on the power play. Another freshman, Justin Daigle, is a puck-moving defenseman (15-39--54 in 57 games). He was the top-scoring defenseman in the AJHL.

4) Alaska was picked 6th and 7th in the two preseason polls. Coach Dallas Ferguson, in his second year, is 1-2-0 against Michigan. Despite a very solid record last season, the Nanooks were shut out on eleven occasions. They shut their opponents out eight times. Michigan leads the all-time series 37-7-0. How have we never tied?

5) Dion Knelsen has 4 goals in 7 games against the Wolverines. Ohio State is the only "school" he has scored more goals against. Defenseman Scott Enders had a pair of goals in the three games against the Wolverines a year ago. He only had three goals total in his freshman year.

6) The Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves were 14-17-5 a year ago. They too played Southern Alberta IT in their exhibition game, and won by a 9-0 score. UAA tallied one point in the USCHO poll.

7) Both of their goalies played in their exhibition win. Jon Olthius got the start and made 7 stops in a little over half the game. Bryce Christianson stopped ten pucks in the second half of the game. Christianson was the better of the two a year ago, with a 2.60/.893 to Olthius's 3.43/.877.

8) For a team that was just 37th in offense a year ago, they've got a few pretty good scorers. Kevin Clark, Tommy Grant, and Josh Lunden all scored 13+ goals and 20+ points last season. They actually have as many 13+ goal scorers as Michigan does (Caporusso, Hagelin, and Wohlberg).

9) Lunden had 6 tallies with a man-advantage. UAA's power play was 16.1% last year, which ranked 30th in the country. Their penalty kill was awful, however. They ranked 56th in the country at 77.8%.

10) The Wolverines and Seawolves have only played 3 times in history, with Michigan holding a 2-0-1 edge. The last meeting was in October of 2000, a 4-3 Michigan win. Michigan has won this tournament once in the past. Senior Nils Backstrom is a Red Wing prospect. Brad Gorham is an ex-Buckeye, so feel free to hate him.

Other stuff:
Brian has his thoughts on the exhibition weekend. Included is some very happy stuff from Bob Miller about Lucas Lessio, who is dissssgusting by the way:

Here's an interview after he scored the goal:

Lessio has 9-10--19 in 9 games this season.

The Wolverine Blog
talked with Mike Spath from, well, The Wolverine, about the upcoming hockey season.

Also, the new hockey student section group is planning on organizing trips to East Lansing, Madison, the Soo, Joe Louis, and Toledo. They're looking for a name. Anyone have any suggestions?

The Wolverines are keeping their always-entertaining running diary of the trip to Alaska. Steve Kampfer, Louie Caporusso, and Shawn Hunwick wrote for this edition. Chris Summers took Travis Turnbull really early in their fantasy hockey draft. Shawn Hunwick drafted half the Bruins roster---but not his brother, Matt.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Michigan 6, Windsor 2

The Wolverines completed their perfect exhibition season with a 6-2 win over the Windsor Lancers. After falling behind 2-1 in the second period, the Wolverines scored five unanswered goals to win by the same 6-2 count that The Dynasty beat the Lancers by a day ago.

Thoughts (keeping in mind that I didn't see the game and listened to about half of it):

-Red Berenson said that Carl Hagelin wants to have a terrific year and he's certainly off to a good start. Hagelin had a 4-1--5 line over the weekend, including 3 power play goals. In the post-game, Berenson said that he scored some goals on plays where, last year, the puck might have hit the post or the goalie. That sounds similar to Caporusso's freshman-to-sophomore year transition. As I said yesterday, Hagelin led the team in shots last year. He doesn't have to top 20% in shooting percentage like Caporusso and Wohlberg did a season ago. If he can even put in 15% of his shots, he could have a fantastic season. That would put him right around 20 goals, using his shot total from a year ago.

-AJ Treais had another good game offensively, posting a 1-1--2 line for the second straight night. He scored the first goal for the Wolverines tonight early in the second period, one-timing the rebound of an Eric Elmblad shot that hit the endboards and caromed back out.

-Just when I was thinking to myself that he had been strangely absent from the scoresheet this weekend, Caporusso exploded with 2 goals and an assist in the third period tonight.

-The power play was 3 for 7, making them 4 for 14 on the weekend after starting 0 for 6. The PK was successful on all four of their kills, allowing just three shots. Good weekend for the special teams as a whole.

-Bryan Hogan made five stops in the first period before being given the rest of the afternoon off. Shawn Hunwick came in and made 9 saves on 11 shots. One stop in the third period had Huntzicker and Randall going crazy on the broadcast, and I heard Temptation on another occasion though I didn't hear the play. Windsor's second goal was a 2 on 0. Coach Berenson was complimentary after the game, after saying that Hunwick battled some nerves early on.

-Humorous moment at the end of the second period when Windsor goalie Jim Watt was given a ten-minute misconduct, and had to serve it himself. That brought up happy memories of the "Free Montoya" game, which is still one of the funniest things I've ever seen at Yost.

Michigan will start the season for real next weekend up in Anchorage, where they're taking part in the Kendall Hockey Classic. The Wolverines open the season against CCHA-foe Alaska, before taking on Alaska-Anchorage on Saturday. Hopefully the polar bear doesn't blow up the city of Anchorage while we're there.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Michigan 4, NTDP 2

No audio for the game, so this is going solely off the stats (and all the stats come from Gametracker so the official stats could be a little different). Thoughts on Michigan's 4-2 exhibition win over the NTDP Under 18 team:

-I know it's just an exhibition game against younger players, but it's an encouraging sign that AJ Treais and Ben Winnett contributed in a big way offensively. Winnett had a pair of assists. Treais had a 1-1--2 line and had another goal waived off. If Winnett can be somewhat of the offensive player he was supposed to be and Treais can make an impact, that bodes well for our chances. Additional scoring depth would be very welcome. Treais seems like one of those guys that's gonna be nice to have around. The NHL wasn't in love with him (probably because of his size) but he's an offensively gifted player who will be around for four years. He's drawn comparisons to Hensick in the past....if we get even half of that, he'll be a nice pickup.

-Also a positive: Carl Hagelin had a pair of goals on his only two shots of the hockey game. Hagelin led the team in shots on goal by 12 last season but scored 11 fewer goals than Caporusso. He's another guy that could take a step forward offensively. I like that he was out there on the power play.

-Chris Summers +3. Baller.

-Jon Merrill had the Americans' first goal of the night. We've heard about his offensive talents but he didn't get a chance to show them off a whole lot last year (3-7--10 in 50 games). He's got two goals in USA's first four games of season.

-Moffatt -2 with one shot on goal.

-Campbell's Yost debut got off to a rough start--giving up a goal 13 seconds in--but he rebounded pretty nicely, giving up 4 on 39 shots. Granted I didn't see any of the goals, but that's not a bad outing against one of the best offensive teams in the country, year after year.

-Hogie got off to a good start with 26 stops on the night. It's a bummer they scored that second one. Hopefully we'll see Hunwick tomorrow. Gotta build some goaltending depth in case Hogan can't, in fact, play every single game.

-One downer: The power play was 0 for 7 before capitalizing on their final opportunity. Those units have to be better than they were last year. Last year's squad had one of the worst percentages since they started keeping track of that stat at Michigan.

Tomorrow's opponent is the Windsor Lancers, who, as of this writing, trail the Miami Redhawks 4-1 after 2.

The shocker of the young exhibition season thusfar is Boston U tying St. Francis Xavier 2-2 tonight, despite outshooting them 53-16.

10 Things to Know About This Weekend

It's finally here! Michigan kicks off the 2009-2010 season with exhibition games against the NTDP and Windsor this weekend. Here are 10 Things to Know about the upcoming weekend.

1) The U-18s come in 1-1-1, beating Tri-City, falling to Sioux City in a shootout, and then losing to Des Moines. Jon Merrill has one of the Americans' 6 goals and Jack Campbell is 1-1 with a 2.02/.905.

2) Anyone who reads this site knows that there are several future Wolverines who will be skating at Yost tonight: Goaltender Jack Campbell, defensemen Kevin Clare and Jon Merrill, and forward Luke Moffatt. Jacob Fallon will not play.

3) Michigan is 9-0-0 all time against the NTDP. The past couple of games have ended in semi-blowouts (5-1 and 4-1 the last two years), but the youngsters have come dangerously close to breaking through a few times: (6-5, 4-3, 3-2 in ot the previous three games).

4) Michigan has had 24 players come out of the NTDP, including seven players on the current roster (eight if you count Patrick Summers who stepped in as the backup goalie late last year). has a nice preview story with quotes from the future Wolverines.

5) Michigan is 2-0 all-time against the Windsor Lancers, including a 12-1 win in their last meeting in 2004. I could be wrong, but wasn't that the controversial game where the band didn't play the Canadian anthem? Maybe I think that about every Canadian team, but I could swear it was against Windsor.

6) They're opening the season against Miami of Ohio (yeah, you're damn right I said it) tonight, so there's not much to go off of with this current team.

7) The roster on the website hasn't been updated for the current season, so the players I mention below may or may not still be on the team.

8) Kyle Nishizaki is the 57th-leading scorer in school history with a 14-33--47 line. Josh Gaynor (15-15--30) and Jon Ryan (not the former Packers punter--who is also Canadian--who they never should have cut, but that's another story) also rank in the top 100.

9) Goaltender Jim Watt is the 5th leading goaltender in school history with...umm...a 3.75 goals against average. #16 on the list has a 5.33. Methinks I would have cut that list off a little sooner. Watt had a .932 save percentage last year and was an All-Star. Head Coach Kevin Hamlin (not Dale Earnhardt's old crew chief) was named

10) Defenseman Steve Ferry (Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve Ferry! Dude, we promised no Journey psych-outs!) played 5 seasons in the OHL and was said to be a prized recruit added to the team for this season. He was top-20 in OHL scoring amongst defensemen last year. Christian Steingraber is a former Plymouth Whaler, Kyle Tront and Anthony Tapper also played in the OHL last year.