The exhibition season is in the books. The next time the Wolverines takes to the ice at Yost, they'll be playing for real!
Having not seen either game thanks to the lack of streaming video at Yost these days, I have to go off of internet reports, but it sounds like things were mostly good for Michigan in the exhibition season.
First, the downers: Jon Merrill left tonight's game against Windsor after getting his bell rung on a hit early in the second period. Late in the contest, Justin Selman was also helped to the locker room with what was said to be a bad cut on the back of his leg.
Clearly that's not what Michigan wanted to have happen in an exhibition game. The game sounded like it was fairly hard-hitting for an exhibition game. Hopefully both guys are okay, especially with a quick turnaround before RIT comes to town on Thursday.
Other than that, it's hard to complain about what we saw. If you were going to make a list of guys that you'd want to shine in the early going, you'd probably have to include Kevin Lynch and Luke Moffatt on the list.
Lynch had a pair of assists on Guptill goals in the Blue/White game to stake Blue to a 2-0 lead. The first was a feed to Guptill on a 2-on-1. Gupill was able to lift one over the goaltender (I believe it was Rutledge). The second one, Guptill walked out from behind the net and stuffed one home. White tied the game up thanks to a pair of goals from alum Mike Knuble (one from Andy Hilbert and Matt Hunwick). Guptill completed his hat trick in the middle part of the second period on an absolute SNIPE from the right wing before Derek DeBlois added some insurance on a similar shot.
Yost Section 25 had some thoughts on the scrimmage as well as his view of some of the freshmen.
Tonight Michigan took on Windsor in the usual exhibition-against-a-Canadian-team. Unlike last year, which saw Michigan fall to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, the Wolverines took it to their opponents from south of the border.
Michigan scored early in the game but the goal was waived off--nice to see the CCHA is in midseason form already. Windsor scored on the power play and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Steve Racine took over for Rutledge for period two and kept the Lancers off the scoreboard. Michigan responded with five in the second stanza. Moffatt got things going just seven seconds into the period off a goalmouth feed from PDG. A couple of freshmen gave Michigan the lead when Daniel Milne fed Justin Selman.
Moffatt then notched his second of the night, this one on the power play off a rebound from a Trouba shot. PDG then scored from Moffatt and Trouba and the floodgates were officially open. Just over a minute later Andrew Copp got on the board. Trouba got the puck behind the net, fooled the goalie, and got it to Copp for an easy tap-in. That made it a natural playmaker for Trouba (is that such a thing? Assists on three straight goals?).
The onslaught continued early in the third as DeBlois scored from Travis Lynch and Lindsay Sparks in the first minute. Windsor got one back on a wraparound that Janecyk wasn't quick enough to get to. DeBlois, Sparks, and Lynch hooked up again later in the third as a DeBlois one-timer regained the five-goal lead for the good guys. Windsor added one more goal late and Michigan skated off with a 7-3 win.
From the sound of it, Moffatt, Treais, and PDG looked very good on the top line and Trouba was as advertised (three assists, a couple of bomb shots, a couple of nice hits). It's nice to see Michigan generating offense from a lot of different sources, especially with Guptill, Kevin Lynch, Moffie, Bennett, and Hyman given the night off. They gave up way too many shots in the third period (18), but that could just be a let-down in the third period of a blowout exhibition game.
Moving on, it's time to unveil my picks in the CCHA. These were made before the start of exhibition play. Ryan Kennedy from The Hockey News can vouch for me. (Speaking of Kennedy, Michigan made his list of five teams he's excited to see this year.) Here's what I've got:
1. Western Michigan (Lots of the contenders have question marks in net. Western does not with the Big Slubowski.)
2. Michigan (Lost a lot of good players, but the freshman class is one of the nation's best. Should have the defense to allow the goalies to get their feet wet. Maybe the best D corps in the country.)
3. Notre Dame (Added some top-notch forward prospects. Don't trust their goaltending at all.)
4. Ferris State (CCHA regular season champs last year, NCAA runner-up. Lost top scorer, top D, and their goalie. CJ Motte was solid when he was in net a year ago, though.)
5. Miami (Talented but so young. Lost Reilly Smith, both goalies, Biggs, and more. Bring in the USA Hockey goalie of the year.)
6. NMU (Lost some good players, return Coreau in net, and he's a good one.)
7. Michigan State (Lots of new faces on the blue line. Lost Krug. Yanakeff is a good goalie. Some upward mobility here.)
8. Ohio State (Great first half, awful second half last year. Lost Heeter and Dries. Really solid recruiting class, including the 3x leading scorer for Des Moines in the USHL.)
9. LSSU (Offseason defections hurt, otherwise they were looking solid. Can Kapalka regain his freshman form?)
10. BGSU (Hammond is really good in net. Their top freshman is suspended for most of the year.)
11. Facing the wrath of HOCKEYBEAR, but......Alaska (Lost an awful lot, including Greenham. They do bring in a stud dman.)
Really I think the middle part of the conference is going to be a complete CF again, like it was last year. Paula Weston agrees that it's going to be really competitive. She has the Wolverines coming out on top in the league's final season.