The glass-half-empty folks might be worried about goaltender Billy Sauer surrendering six goals (two within 40 seconds on a running clock) in the Michigan hockey team’s Blue-White scrimmage Saturday in a near-empty Yost Ice Arena.
But for the glass-half-full crowd, an unexpected line showed a fluidity rarely seen so early in a season.
Granted, Sauer’s team, the offensively weighted White squad, had a weaker defense than the defensively strong Blue team. And at times there were defensive players out of position coupled with good Blue shots. But it’s impossible to ignore the weak goals the junior goaltender – and last year’s starter – surrendered in the Blue squad’s 6-3 win.
“I’m sure Billy would tell you I didn’t like all the goals – not that you ever like any goals against, but there’s some that he would’ve saved, has to save (and) should’ve saved,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
Luckily, an intra-squad matchup is just like a ying-yang.
If Sauer was the ying Saturday, than the Blue team’s top offensive line (junior Travis Turnbull, and freshmen Carl Hagelin and Louie Caporusso) was the yang. Turnbull notched a hat trick and an assist in what Berenson called a “confidence-building game,” while Caporusso (game-leading 16-of-18 on faceoffs) and Hagelin each boasted three assists.
“You could see they had some chemistry going,” Berenson said. “They had confidence. They worked hard.
“That’s why you have these games, just to see the lines that might gel, might have a leg up early in the year.”
Killer penalty kill: In yesterday exhibition against Western Ontario (a 5-1 Wolverine win), the Michigan penalty kill faced its toughest battle: a three-on-five.
With a little more than five minutes remaining in the second period, Chad Langlais was called for interference. Once the puck dropped in the ensuing faceoff, Danny Fardig fell to the ground and took out the opposing Mustang for a tripping penalty.
And in just three seconds, Michigan suffered its fifth and sixth penalties (of seven) on the game. With just the penalty-killing experience from earlier in the game under their belts, the Wolverines stifled Western Ontario. The tiring Mustangs didn’t get off a single shot.
“I give our guys credit and their power play probably hasn’t had enough to time to get together either, but that was a good confidence builder,” Berenson said.
Freshman feeding frenzy: The dozen first-years weren’t just there to enjoy the atmosphere. They made their fair share of contributions, too.
Of the 14 Wolverine points, freshmen tallied nine.
Hagelin led the way with a hat trick after notching a goal and three assists in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“This is probably my second hat trick in my life, so it was pretty fun,” the Sweden native said.
Aaron Palushaj notched a goal and an assist of his own, and Rust had two assists.
“(The freshmen) are really excited,” captain Kevin Porter said. “They’re all ready to go; they were all excited to put the jersey on tonight. It was only an exhibition game, but they all looked great, they played hard, and I think they’re going to be even more excited next weekend.”