Michigan trumps Bentley, 6-3, at Yost Ice Arena

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By Matt Slovin, Daily Sports Editor
Published October 19, 2012

The Michigan hockey team fired off 56 shots and enjoyed a late flurry of goals to finish off a 6-3 come-from-behind victory over Bentley.

“Even though we got down in the game, I thought we played with a lot of patience, discipline and just a good overall team work ethic,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson.

After the two teams spent the first period’s early moments feeling each other out, Michigan (2-1) finally produced a promising 2-on-1 with freshman forward Boo Nieves and sophomore forward Alex Guptill streaking down the slot. The Falcon defender made the first move, committing to Nieves, leaving Guptill open, but the puck never got to him as the clearing attempt succeeded.

At the 8:07 mark of the first period, Bentley (1-1) had a 2-on-1 of its own, but it came away with more to show. Michigan freshman goalie Steven Racine allowed a lazy snapshot from the top of the slot to skip past him and the Falcons had the early lead.

The Wolverines had their best chance to score in the opening frame when Nieves fed senior forward Lindsay Sparks a perfect pass right into the crease. Sparks hesitated and only mustered a weak shot attempt. Though Bentley netminder Branden Komm didn’t need to flash the leather on Sparks’s shot, he gloved several tough shots in the first period, and Michigan found itself trailing 1-0 after one period.

“Give (Bentley) credit — they were putting a lot of pressure on our defense and trying to get us to turn the puck over, and we did a few times,” Berenson said.

It didn’t take long for the Wolverines to open the second period’s scoring. Just 30 seconds in, a messy scrum in front of the Bentley goal ended in a tap in from senior captain A.J. Treais that tied the game.

But Bentley’s response came almost as quickly. A Falcon shot deflected off of Racine’s pads and forward Jared Rickord was there to give his team the lead once again.

Still, Treais bailed out the Wolverines once again on a beautiful give-and-go with sophomore forward Phil Di Giuseppe. The tally knotted the game at two.

Minutes later, Michigan looked like it should’ve taken the lead as Komm corralled a backhand from Guptill, and the referee blew his whistle, ending the play. But right after the whistle sounded, the puck trickled out of Komm’s grasp and over the goal line. After a review, the officials upheld the initial ruling.

Luckily for the Wolverines, the go-ahead goal came not long afterward. Freshman forward Andrew Copp, who committed to the Wolverines in May, scored his first collegiate goal playing in his first collegiate game. He reacted quickly for a one-timer look and Michigan regained the lead, 3-2, going into the second intermission.

In the third period, Guptill extended the Michigan lead to 4-2 off a wrister that directly followed a faceoff in Bentley’s end. The goal was the first of the season for Guptill, who tied for the team lead last season with 16 goals. Sophomore forward Zach Hyman followed with his first marker of the young season off a rebound goal that found its way through the Bentley goaltender’s five hole.

“It’s pretty satisfying,” Hyman said of his first goal since Nov. 12 of last year. “I was a scratch last week, and it put a little bit of a fire under my butt.”

Bentley managed to slip one more past Racine during a delayed penalty at the 10:17 mark of the third period, but the Michigan offense kept up the pressure, thwarting any possible comeback attempt by the Falcons.

Guptill added the night’s final marker and his second of the night after senior forward Kevin Lynch had his shot deflected from in tight, before the New Market, Ont. native hammered it home to seal the victory for the Wolverines.

Michigan now will have a full week off before taking the ice at Yost against Miami (Ohio) to begin CCHA play.

“One thing we don’t have to worry about is a game tomorrow night,” Berenson said. “I think our team left everything on the ice tonight.”