DETROIT – Entering this season, Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson stressed the importance of balanced scoring if the Wolverines wanted to repeat their successes from last year.
But the first half of the season was marred with inconsistency. The Wolverines’ top scorers were lighting the lamps, but the production from the bottom half of the lineup wasn’t there.
Michigan has tallied 68 goals this season, but half of them came from three players – Caprosusso, Palushaj and freshman forward David Wohlberg.
But in the GLI, which took place December 27th and 28th at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, not only did No. 10 Michigan’s leading scorers tally goals, but much of the Wolverines’ offense came from unlikely sources.
Junior acting captain Chris Summers tallied a surprising three assists against Michigan State in the tournament championship, with three assists on the 28th, to bring the defenseman’s career total to four goals and seven assists against the Spartans.
More unexpected than Summers’s breakout was the play of some of Michigan’s unheralded forwards.
In the tournament’s first game, a 5-0 win against Michigan Tech, rarely-used junior forward Anthony Ciraulo, got his name up on the scoreboard.
The Wolverines played without sophomore forwards Matt Rust and Aaron Palushaj, who played for Team USA in the IIHF World Junior Championship during the tournament. Their absences opened up a spot for Ciraulo on the fourth line.
Ciraulo took advantage of the ice time, threading a wrist shot past a shell shocked Husky goalie Josh Robinson. His goal extended Michigan’s lead to 4-0 in the first period.
“We knew our fourth line would be important,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “They looked good in practice. They were excited. Ciraulo hasn’t played much this year, but he came out and gave us a good game.”
The entire second line – seniors Brandon Naurato and Travis Turnbull and sophomore Ben Winnett – had combined for just eight goals this season before the tournament. But all three tallied a goal in the championship game against the Spartans.
A key for the Wolverines heading into the latter part of conference play will be whether they can continue to get balanced scoring from all of their lines.
Kampfer returns: Junior defenseman Steve Kampfer returned from injury against Michigan Tech. Kampfer fractured his skull in an off-campus altercation on October 12 and was out for two months.
His impact on the ice was felt immediately, with two assists during the tournament.
“First game back, I felt a little rusty, but as the game went on, I felt a lot better,” Kampfer said. “Playing with (sophomore) Tristin (Llewellyn) really helped out a lot.”
Kampfer was paired with Llewellyn on the third defensive line. Llewellyn’s physical presence on the ice made it easier for Kampfer, who still needs to be cautious after the injury.
Getting Bored: Sophomore goaltender Bryan Hogan faced 15 shots in the first period against Michigan State. After that, he saw just five.
So what does a goalie do when his team seems to be on an extended power play deep in the opponent’s zone and he rarely sees the puck?
“You try to stay awake,” Hogan said. “That’s the toughest part, being included in the whole game even when you don’t face many shots.”
Michigan fired 54 shots against Michigan State, and Hogan faced just 20. He also shut out Michigan Tech the night before. Although he didn’t have to work too hard in net, his efforts were still enough to earn him a spot on the GLI All-Tournament team.
Notes: Michigan players took four of the six spots on the GLI All-Tournament team. Caporusso, Summers, Hogan and sophomore defenseman Chad Langlais were all recognized on the ice after the Wolverines’ tournament win.