- Sammi Trauben/Daily
BY CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
Published March 13, 2011
Following a season-ending collarbone injury to the Wolverines’ second-leading scorer, junior forward David Wohlberg, in game one of the best-of-three CCHA quarterfinal series against Bowling Green on Friday, the Michigan bench was depleted on Saturday, to say the least.
In fact, freshman defenseman Kevin Clare was the only healthy game-time scratch for the Wolverines.
In losing Wohlberg and senior forward Louie Caporusso — who suffered a lower-body injury two weekends ago against Northern Michigan — the fifth-ranked Wolverines lost leadership and two top-tier forwards.
But in the seniors’ last series in Yost Ice Arena — a 5-1 Friday victory and a 4-1 win on Saturday— it was the sophomores who shined.
“Obviously, when guys go down, all the guys have to step up,” senior forward Carl Hagelin said after Saturday’s win. “Today, (sophomore defenseman Lee Moffie) stepped up with a great game, great performance, two goals and one assist. (Sophomore forward Lindsay Sparks) had a really good game as well and so did (sophomore forward A.J. Treais). That is what you need and those guys are ready to play. They're obviously very skilled guys and they showed up today.”
Sparks, who has had a consistent spot in the lineup since the series in Marquette, saw his hard work pay off in both games this past weekend. He scored his first goal of the series just 42 seconds into the third period against the Falcons on Friday. Michigan was up 3-0 on Bowling Green, but Sparks’s goal set the tempo for a dominant third period for the Wolverines.
“I’m glad (Sparks) scored a goal,” Berenson said on Friday. “Lindsay had a chance to have a real good game, and I can’t tell you he didn’t have a good game, but he misfired on one of his best chances. You’d like to see him finish that one. But nevertheless he’s playing, getting some experience, hopefully some confidence.”
Sparks flashed that confidence on Saturday, scoring Michigan’s second goal of the game six minutes into the second period. He took a cross-ice pass from freshman defenseman Mac Bennett, beat the Falcon defenders and buried the puck for his third goal of the season.
Treais, the center on Sparks’s line, scored the Wolverines’ second power-play goal of the game on Saturday. While senior forward Ben Winnett played with Treais and Sparks on Friday, freshman forward Luke Moffatt joined the line on Saturday. Regardless of the third member of that line, Sparks and Treais showed some chemistry on the ice against Bowling Green.
Moffie got the Wolverines rolling on Saturday. Junior forward Luke Glendening picked up the puck in the neutral zone and passed it to Moffie, who slapped a rocket from the left side for a shorthanded tally in the first period. He added a power-play tally in the second period and finished the series with three points.
“Getting two goals from Moffie was huge,” Berenson said. “Our top guns don’t always score, but we got the goals we needed.”
Moffie’s two goals on Saturday marked the 24th and 25th goals of the season by Michigan defensemen — a unit the Wolverines will continue to rely on offensively as the postseason progresses.
“Everyone got a chance to play more than enough,” Berenson said. “And we did get some balance. That’s what we need. We’ve got a team that has scored enough goals but maybe we don’t have a 20-goal scorer on our team.”