Friday, February 10
Michigan 2 – @ Michigan State 3
17-10-4 (11-8-4-1 CCHA)
Saturday, February 11
Michigan State 2 – @ Michigan 3 (OT; Detroit, MI)
18-10-4 (12-8-4-1 CCHA)
Michigan traveled to East Lansing for the first game of the weekend series, missing Chris Brown who had been suspended for the game for fighting in the closing minute of last Saturday’s game against Miami. After a scoreless first period,Michigan got on the board early in the second with a beautiful Treais shot. Kevin Lynch pushed the lead to two shortly thereafter. Despite the Wolverines holding the momentum for much of the period, and nearly going up 3-0 off of a Sinelli breakaway, Krug cut the lead back to one with a long shot a few minutes later. Michigan took the 2-1 lead into the third, but a series of bad penalties hurt the Wolverines as State scored two power play goals in the first four minutes of the period. What had once been a 2-0 lead turned into 3-2 deficit, and Michigan was unable to equalize. Shots were dead even, 30 a peace, and State edged in faceoffs, 31-28.
Michigan was the nominal home team for the Saturday game as the teams took the ice at the Joe in Detroit. Again,Michigan got on the board first, taking the 1-0 lead off of a beautiful play by Treais, getting his own rebound and skating around Yanakeff’s outstretched leg to put the puck into the net. The Wolverines took the lead into the second, but State evened it up early in the second. After another bad penalty less than three minutes later (this time goaltender interference by Travis Lynch) Sparty took the lead off the power play. The deficit was short lived however, as Treais evened things up with a long snipe from the top of the circle. The teams went into the third tied at two and, despite chances by both teams that included a point blank save by Hunwick and two consecutive Wolverine shots clinging off the post late in the period, 2-2 was the score at the end of regulation and the game proceeded to overtime. Just over two minutes in, Kevin Lynch took a pass through a Spartan defender’s legs and put it five-hole for the game winner. For the second night in a row, shots were dead even at 35 each.
Some thoughts on the weekend: Missing Chris Brown on Friday really hurt, as the red hot Brown-Wohlberg-Guptill couldn’t get anything going without the centerpiece, but the real killer on the weekend was the penalty kill. State had three power play goals, all three off of bad penalties, while Michigan got nothing on its chances. Take away the Friday mistakes and the weekend likely becomes a sweep. This is the second weekend in a row that the Wolverines were racking up the bad penalties, and unlike Miami last week the Spartans made them count. Come tournament time, the play is going to have to get more disciplined.
On a weekend that got nothing out the top scoring line (Brown-Wohlberg-Guptill), Treais and Kevin Lynch really stepped up big. The two scored all five Wolverine goals on the weekend, and carried an offense that otherwise couldn’t cash in on large periods of momentum. While the Brown line has been lights out the second half of the season and (along with Merrill’s return) the key toMichigan’s turnaround, it’s good to see other players carrying the load when called upon.