For the first time in recent memory, Louie was being Louie.
Junior forward Louie Caporusso, the Woodbridge, Ont. native, registered the Michigan hockey team’s first two goals in its 4-0 victory over Bowling Green last night at Yost Ice Arena. It had been 368 days since Caporusso’s last multi-goal performance, and it came at a most opportune time, as Michigan continues to vie for a top spot in the CCHA conference.
“(Louie) has played really hard in recent games since Christmas,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson who, with the win, moved into sixth place all-time with 690 NCAA wins. “Even before Christmas, he was one of our best forwards in the Notre Dame series, so you see him battling and trying hard. … And now some of the bounces are coming his way.”
Up until last night, Caporusso had just seven goals on the season, a far cry from last season’s team-leading 24. It’s been an uphill battle all year trying to get his name on the score sheet.
With 13 minutes left in the second period against the Falcons, Caporusso spun away from a Bowling Green defender on the half boards. He then made a sharp cut to the slot and threw the puck five-hole past netminder Andrew Hammond.
Caporusso said if he could figure out what was different about his play last night, he’d “bottle it up and just take it before every game.”
Later in the third, junior defenseman Chad Langlais corralled the puck at the top of the Falcon left circle and fired a pass to Caporusso on the weak side, who then deposited the puck past a sprawled-out Hammond.
The two-goal output was the type of showing Berenson needed from his former Hobey Baker finalist, who will need to shoulder much of the scoring if the team expects to garner some late-season success.
“I think what happens when you’re not scoring, you start over-passing the puck,” Berenson said. “And I’ve had to remind Louie that he’s got to start shooting the puck. I think he’s in a good place right now. He’s making good decisions with the puck.”
Along with Caporusso’s First-Star Honor performance, the Wolverines (12-9-1 CCHA, 17-13-1 overall) played lockdown defense on the Falcons all night, allowing just 21 shots.
The Wolverine defensemen closed the gap on the Bowling Green forwards, minimizing the speed they gained coming through the neutral zone and into the attacking zone. Additionally, it minimized the number of odd-man rushes throughout the entire contest.
But midway through the third period, with the Wolverines up 2-0, a Falcon offender went one-on-one with junior goaltender Bryan Hogan. Senior defenseman Steven Kampfer trailed on the play and at the last split second, lifted the player’s stick and reversed the puck back down the ice.
While it was just one minor play, the defensive maneuver from the veteran blue-liner prevented the Falcons (3-15-4-3, 4-20-4) from potentially scoring in what was at that point a very close game. The win gave Hogan his fourth shutout of the season.
“The goals were really precious tonight,” Berenson said. “Fortunately, we found a way to score. But it was pretty good team defense, we didn’t give them much.”