In its first regular season game at Yost Ice Arena in almost two years, the expectations for the No. 3 Michigan hockey team were high.
Contrary to the vibrant atmosphere, the Wolverines came out flat in the opening minutes against Lake Superior State. The puck stayed within Michigan’s defensive zone and the tempo needed to switch. The Lakers played physical and applied pressure to the Wolverines. Despite the early challenge, Michigan (1-0 overall) beat Lake Superior State (1-1) handily, marching to a 6-1 win.
After drawing a penalty from the Lakers, the momentum shifted. Sophomore forward Kent Johnson dropped the puck to sophomore forward Brendan Brisson who scored a wide open shot. The energy continued on the odd man rush as Johnson fired a cross ice pass to freshman forward Mackie Samoskevich, who deposited it to the top left corner of the net
But the Lakers fought back.
While retrieving the puck, freshman defenseman Jacob Bengtssen boarded senior defenseman Jack Summers in the corner. Initially a minor penalty, Michigan coach Mel Pearson challenged the call and the call turned into a major penalty.
With the opportunity to take advantage of the five-minute major, Brisson guided an inside pass to the stick of Johnson, who redirected it into the upper corner of the goal with four minutes left on the man advantage. By the end of the first period had outshot Lake Superior State, 21 to 12.
Sophomore goaltender Erik Portillo stole the show for the beginning of the second period. After not facing a lot of dangerous shots, he turned away a 2-on-1 rush and later stopped a breakaway shot low midway through the period. The goalscoring didn’t stop as freshman defenseman Luke Hughes put a shot on net and created chaos in front of the crease. Senior forward Garrett Van Wyhe was wide open on the left post and put it away for Michigan’s fourth goal.
Searching for that fifth goal, freshman forward Dylan Duke forechecked a defender and wrapped the resulting loose puck around the right side of the net and into the goal. The Wolverines took a commanding 5-0 going into the third period.
In the beginning of the third period, the Lakers finally got their goal. Lakers forward Louis Boudon fired it from behind the net during a power play. But Michigan was still in control and didn’t let the Lakers come back. With seven minutes remaining, sophomore defenseman Owen Power shot the puck high as it deflected off the goaltender’s right glove and crossed the line for the 6-1 lead.
The Wolverines played strong on special teams across all 60 minutes, successfully killing six of the seven penalties. In the single goal allowed, a Lake Superior player was wide open in front of goal and there was little Portillo could do to block the shot.
Nothing would stop Michigan from winning tonight by a large margin, Michigan fans’ first glimpse of what could come this weekend.