Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hockey Returns

Oh happy day, hockey season is back.  Michigan already has three game-like substances in the books, though only one actually counts.  In an odd road opener at Ferris State on October 4, the Wolverines dug themselves an early hole, first hanging Nagelvoort out to dry on a breakaway and then leaving a Bulldog unattended at the point, all within the first 2 minutes of the season, and Ferris added a power-play tally to make it 3-0 at the end of the first period. Tyler Motte scored immediately to open the second period, but an ill-timed pinch gave up a short-handed goal to push Ferris's lead back to 3.  Michigan carried play for most of the third and clawed back with a pair of goals, but ultimately came up short, losing 4-3.  If I was told prior to the start of the game that Michigan would drop its road opener to defending WCHA champion Ferris State 4-3, I would take it.  Falling behind 3-0 is somewhat more disappointing, but this was overall a good result.

The USNTDP came over to Yost just two days later for an exhibition game, and Michigan pulled away in a wild one to win 7-4. Given that the Under 18s have won the last two meetings with the Wolverines, this represents significant progress.  Michigan then played their third game of the week on Thursday when they welcomed Wilfrid Laurier as their annual Canadian collegiate opponent. For the first time this year, Michigan scored first. The Wolverines pushed their lead out to 3-0 by the end of the first period and were up 4-0 before the Golden Hawks put one in the net. The game ended 5-2, with Steve Racine taking over for Nagelvoort after the second intermission and posting a clean sheet.

On Friday, New Hampshire pays a visit to Yost in return for the Wolverines' trip last year. Both games went to overtime, with UNH stealing one and the other ending in a tie.  Michigan and New Hampshire find themselves in similar situations this year: Both teams had up and down seasons last year with records of over .500, but neither of them reached the NCAA tournament.  The Wildcats lost their exhibition game with Canada's St. Francis Xavier 2-0 and their first non-conference game of the season to Union, the defending NCAA Champions, 3-1.

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