- Patrick Barron/Daily
By Liz Nagle, Daily Sports Writer
Published October 19, 2012
Forwards A.J. Treais and Alex Guptill each fell just one goal shy of a hat trick during the Michigan hockey team’s 6-3 win over Bentley on Friday.
Treais’s pair of goals gave the sixth-ranked Wolverines (2-1) an offensive lift in the first four minutes of the second period against the Falcons. The senior opened the stanza’s scoring just 31 seconds in, on a pass from sophomore forward Phil Di Giuseppe. After catching the rebound on back-to-back shots off the Bentley netminder’s pads, the puck finally found the back of the net.
Falcon forward Jared Rickord answered before Treais came back with Di Giuseppe on an odd-man rush, leading to a poke-check and the tying tally.
“Good for A.J.,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “He just seems to have that attitude: when things don’t go well, he’s the guy that bounces us right back in the game and scores a big goal or makes a big play. He’s playing possessed, and good for him.”
The Bloomfield Hills, Mich. native led the Wolverines on Friday with eight of the team’s 56 shots on goal. Treais was named a preseason honorable mention on All-CCHA team after marking the stat sheets with impressive numbers last year — 15 goals, 17 assists, 134 shots and a team-high plus/minus of plus-24.
“I think it was just a matter of the puck going in,” Treais said. “I think what’s good about this team is that when we go down a goal, everybody knows we’re not out of the game. We just stick to the plan and things start going our way. If you put 56 shots on the net, you know some of them are going to go in.”
Treais recorded a pair of late shots in the game in hopes of finding a hat trick — something he hasn’t achieved in six years — but couldn’t find the net one last time.
Though the senior captain was the offensive pacesetter through the second period, Guptill matched his effort, stealing the show in the final frame. He first buried a glove-side wrister, recording his first goal of the season, with assists by freshman forward Boo Nieves and senior forward Kevin Lynch.
The sophomore then clinched the 6-3 Michigan win with just over two minutes remaining in the game, capping the scoring off assists from Lynch and freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba.
The preseason second team All-CCHA honoree completed a hat trick in the intrasquad Blue/White scrimmage before the season started, but like Treais, he missed the feat by one against the Falcons.
Last year, Guptill became instrumental in the Wolverines’ offense — he emerged in his rookie campaign with a team-best 16 goals and 33 points, a .131 shooting percentage off of 122 shots and a plus/minus of plus-14.
Just three games into the season, Treais and Guptill have combined for five goals and three assists. The duo’s production is comforting for the team after losing key junior defensemen Jon Merrill and Kevin Clare to injury.
Thanks to Treais and Guptill’s forceful efforts in the offensive zone, Michigan saw a diffusion of offensive responsibility between all of the forward lines.
“You can never be a team that relies on one or two lines,” Treais said. “It’s got to be all four lines and all six (defensemen), so getting goals from each line is huge.”