With his team already losing 3-1 in the hostile environment of Western Michigan”s Lawson Ice Arena, Michigan sophomore defenseman Mike Komisarek handed the Broncos a point-blank attempt to score their fourth goal and put the game out of reach.
Deep in the Wolverines” zone, Komisarek tried to force the puck to freshman defenseman Brandon Rogers. The pass was intercepted, and then thrown out front for a golden scoring opportunity for the Broncos on senior goalie Josh Blackburn.
“That was our worst play of the game,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “That was our worst defensive lapse where we just flat out gave them the puck.”
Also in the third period, Komisarek was called for checking from behind. Michigan”s top defenseman proceeded to receive a crucial roughing after the whistle penalty, leaving Michigan shorthanded for four minutes instead of two. This was one of many penalties the Wolverines picked up during the game that were unnecessary, and took Michigan out of its offensive rhythm.
“The penalties are killing us,” Komisarek said. “Five-on-five, we”re as good as any team in the country. (Taking penalties) disrupts the flow of the game. I”d be the first to admit that my penalties weren”t too good, but it”s a team thing, and we have to eliminate our penalties.”
After a less-than-spectacular performance on Friday night, Komisarek did everything he could to help Michigan split the weekend series, introducing a facet of his game that hadn”t been released until Saturday night goal scoring.
Komisarek scored two goals and added one assist, leading Michigan to a 5-3 victory over the Broncos in the second game of the series. With his two goals, he is already halfway to equaling his output from last season, when he only netted four goals on 55 shots.
“Komisarek got some powerplay time last year, and he played a lot with Jeff Jillson,” Berenson said. “I think he”s capable of being one of the top defensemen in this league.
“He can add some offense, but he”s got to be a smart and physical defensive presence.”
Komisarek”s first goal of the evening came on an assist by freshman forward Milan Gajic, who shot the puck at Western Michigan goalie Mike Mantua. The puck rebounded out at the point to Komisarek, who fired a wrist shot top shelf to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead.
Komisarek struck again in the second period with the Wolverines leading 2-1. Just as the Michigan powerplay ended, he shot from the point, but the shot was blocked by the Western Michigan defenseman. Then Komisarek corralled the ricochet off of the defender, sidestepped him, and sent the puck top shelf for his second goal of the evening.
“That”s where we haven”t been capitalizing on our powerplay,” Berenson said. “He”s got a rocket of a wrist shot. It”s just a matter of getting it through. What we”re asking him to do is buy some space, because he can shoot it.”
More offensive outbursts from Komisarek, Michigan”s big, bruising defender, will give the Wolverines” powerplay a much-needed boost. But Berenson doesn”t expect Komisarek to dominate games offensively every night.
“We”re not counting on him to lead our team in scoring, but I want our defense to be able to help out on the offense,” Berenson said.
Komisarek isn”t planning on changing his role on the team either.
“My job out there is pretty simple,” Komisarek said. “I get the puck and my number one priority is not getting it blocked. I just have to get it through, and get it to the net.”