KALAMAZOO – One man was responsible for Michigan’s offense Friday night.
Sophomore Andrew Cogliano notched his first career hat trick in the embarrassing 6-3 home loss to Western Michigan.
“That’s too bad (that), in a losing cause, (Cogliano) had a strong game,” Berenson said.
Coming off an 8-2 loss to Minnesota in the final game of the College Hockey Showcase, the Wolverines returned to Yost Ice Arena with a chance to rebound.
“We took them too lightly,” alternate captain Jason Dest said.
Cogliano was one of the players who didn’t look past the Broncos.
He attacked the net all night long, earning his first two goals on rebounds and his third on a feed from junior Chad Kolarik.
“My third goal brought the team up a bit, but we couldn’t do it,” Cogliano said.
After his third goal, Michigan had some good chances to tie the game before Western Michigan extended its lead to two.
Cogliano continued his offensive exploits on Saturday night with another two goals, including the game-winner on a rebound midway through the third period. His five-goal weekend is the most goals in a weekend by a single player since Jeff Tambellini scored five against Miami in Nov. 2004.
Cogliano’s hat trick is Michigan’s fourth this year – its most since 2003-04.
Injury report: Michigan coach Red Berenson called it “old-time hockey.”
T.J. Hensick called it “adversity.”
Tim Cook called it a “test.”
The trainer might call it “working overtime.”
All four would be valid ways to describe Michigan’s injury situation in Saturday’s win over Western Michigan.
Defenseman Jack Johnson led the pack into the trainer’s room. The sophomore didn’t return to the ice after the first intermission because of a shoulder injury.
The blue line sustained another injury when alternate captain Jason Dest dislocated his shoulder early in the second period.
“We’ll have to wait and get official X-rays and whatnot, but they’re definitely hurt,” Berenson said.
At the end of the first period, defenseman Chris Summers was checked into an open door in the Western Michigan bench. He experienced some numbness in his arm during the first intermission, but feeling returned by the second period and so did he.
Defenseman Mark Mitera played with a cast on his right wrist.
Because players on a hockey team cycle in and out of the game constantly, having Summers return to the lineup and Mitera playing through the pain proved important with the loss of more Wolverines’ blue liners. By the end of the game, just two of Michigan’s six regular defenders were completely healthy.
In addition to the new injuries from Saturday night’s game, other Wolverines are still suffering from lingering injuries.
Sophomore Brandon Naurato, who had a goal and an assist Saturday night, continues to show the effects of getting hit above the foot with a puck in last week’s loss to Minnesota. After the game, the Livonia native limped to the bus.
Forty years of PIM: The black-shirted student section at Lawson Ice Arena erupted about eight minutes before puck drop as people emerged from the locker room.
Was the team coming on the ice? No.
Was it the mascot, Buster Bronco? No.
It was the penalty-box attendants.
The penalty-box attendants?
Bill Saunders emerged from the underbelly of the arena in a black blazer with a gold CCHA logo to repeated chants of “Bill, Bill, Bill.”
The Marine City native turned Kalamazoo celebrity has sat in the Western Michigan penalty box since 1966. Saunders has become a hero to the Lawson Lunatics for his overall demeanor and for giving pucks to students before the game and in between periods.
“When I was a freshman, I didn’t know what they were cheering about,” Western Michigan sophomore Matt Baron said. “When you get to know him, he is one of the coolest guys at Western.”
Saunders was playing in a city hockey league in the early 1960s when the Western Michigan officials asked the league if anybody wanted to work Broncos games as minor officials. Saunders worked a Friday night game and has been involved with the program ever since.
In recognition of Saunders’s service to the program, Western Michigan named its award for the player with the highest plus-minus total after him.
When he’s not in the penalty box, Saunders works on his apple and grape farm. He played in the Kalamazoo senior hockey league until 1996.
We’re all going streaking: Junior Kevin Porter extended his point streak to 13 games with a power play goal on a rebound in front of the net in the final minute of the second period. The reigning CCHA Player of the Month has tallied 24 points over that period. His current run is Michigan’s longest since Andy Hilbert’s 16-gamer in 2000-01.