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2010-03-08

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Top scorers lead the Wolverines in CCHA first round sweep

Ariel Bond/Daily
Senior defenseman Steve Kampfer (#5), right, embraces junior forward Louie Caporusso (#29), left, after Michigan scored their third goal against Lake Superior State University on Saturday, March 6, 2010 at Yost Ice Arena Buy this photo

By Michael Florek, Daily Sports Writer
Published March 6, 2010

For the first time all year, the Michigan hockey team’s two seasons came together.

The season the Wolverines were supposed to have, and the season they were actually enduring became one for their final two-game stretch of the year at Yost Ice Arena this weekend.

The trio of players predicted to put up big numbers in the preseason finally came together in Michigan’s sweep of Lake Superior State (15-18-5) in its CCHA first round series, notching a 5-2 victory Friday and a 6-0 win Saturday.

Juniors Louie Caporusso and Carl Hagelin along with sophomore David Wohlberg were the top three returning scorers from a year ago. They combined for 10 points, including six of the Wolverines’ 11 goals on the weekend.

On Saturday, Caporusso made sure he wouldn't have to come back to Yost on Sunday for a third and deciding game of the series. After netting the team’s first and third goals, he joined a rush started by Wohlberg to make it a three-on-two. Wohlberg laid the puck back to Caporusso, who one-timed a snap shot into the net, giving him his third career hat trick and his first this season.

“I had one intention, that was to work hard and get shots on the net, put things on the net because you never know what can happen,” Caporusso said.

But it was Wohlberg who set the offensive tone for the weekend. After registering 30 points in his freshman campaign, Wohlberg had just 17 during the regular season this year. But this weekend, he added three points, including an assist on the first goal Friday as well as the game's second goal.

Wohlberg has struggled with back issues all season, but seems to be getting healthy as the team heads into the postseason.

“He just was never 100 percent,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “You could see it in his skating. Now you can see that he’s jumping, he’s stronger, and with a little bit of luck and hard work you get some results. That’s the David Wohlberg we saw all last year and now he’s finally feeling healthy enough to play all out.”

Hagelin, the alternate captain who has lived up to and exceeded expectations this season, was responsible for the final two goals of the weekend. He also led the team in shots, taking seven of the Wolverines’ 46. Caporusso launched six, but enough to get the extra goal that Hagelin couldn’t find late in the game.

As Michigan (21-17-1) headed into the third period up six goals, the only drama surrounded whether Hagelin could join Caporusso with three goals.

“I got put on there for one shift with him and I just was trying to get him the hat trick,” Caporusso said. "He’s my best friend I would have loved to see him get one too.”

After the game, Hagelin led the Wolverines around the ice to salute the fans one final time. But that group was without senior captain Chris Summers, who went knee-to-knee with Lake Superior's Dan Barczuk midway through the first period and left the ice, never to return.

Berenson said that Summers had sustained a "lower-body injury," and that he did no know when Summers would return.

If Summers can’t go against No. 2 seed Michigan State next weekend, the seventh-seeded Wolverines could be without their captain and their starting goalie junior Bryan Hogan, who has been out with a groin injury since Feb. 25.

The injuries obviously weren't factored into the season the Wolverines were supposed to have, so after two games where everything came together, Michigan's two seasons will diverge when they take the ice Friday, win or lose.