Even after six weeks off the ice, Michigan freshman forward Louie Caporusso is still the luckiest player on the team.
During his first shift back from a knee injury last Friday against Providence, Caporusso notched his second career goal with a little help from the Friars’ defense.
Standing to the left of the goaltender and with his back to the net, the Toronto-area native spun around and sent the puck across the top of the goal crease – hardly a threatening shot.
But the puck ricocheted off the skate of a Providence defenseman and slowly slid across the goal line for Michigan’s first goal.
“It was awesome,” Caporusso said. “It wasn’t the greatest goal, but to know you can get right back into the game and feel like you really belong out there right away was definitely something special.”
Caporusso is no stranger to serendipitous goals. At the Ice Breaker Invitational in St. Paul, Minn., he notched an overtime game-winning goal when the puck ricocheted off the skate of Boston College forward Andrew Orpik.
Eagles coach Jerry York said he wasn’t sure that Caporusso even touched the puck. But the freshman forward will take a goal whether it’s from a well-placed shot or an awkward bounce.
“They don’t draw pictures on the game sheet,” Caporusso said. “You have to think a goal is a goal.”
While Friday night’s goal might have come by luck, Caporusso’s ability to play in the Great Lakes Invitational was the culmination of weeks of hard off-ice work. Without teammates to practice with or coaches to provide structure, Caporusso relied on himself to get back into shape.
He found his own practice rink near his home during Michigan’s brief Christmas break. The work paid off, and the freshman is ready to contribute in a big way during the second half of the season.
“The first couple of practices were tough for me,” Caporusso said last week. “Getting back into shape was definitely tough, but I feel like I’m just getting my legs back right now.”
The unknown milestone: Senior captain Kevin Porter has 31 points this season – an indication he knows a scoring opportunity when he sees one.
But Porter was unaware of the milestone he reached during Friday’s game against Providence. So was his coach.
When asked about his captain surpassing the 150-career point mark, Berenson paused a moment.
“No, I didn’t know it,” Berenson said. “But I think he’s having a career season.”
Going into the season, the Michigan coaching staff predicted Porter would build on an already impressive career, Berenson said.
Despite appreciating the accomplishment, Porter, as he’s apt to do, shifted the attention from himself.
“I guess there’s not much to think about, ” Porter said. “But it’s a team game, so as long as we keep winning, that’s the most important thing.”
Notes: Junior defenseman Mark Mitera was named an alternate captain prior to the GLI, replacing junior forward Tim Miller. Berenson called the switch a reward for Mitera rather than a punishment for Miller. . Junior goalie Billy Sauer was named the RBC Financial Group CCHA Player of the Month for December. Sauer went 3-0-0 to close out 2007. . The Wolverines extended their winning streak over Michigan Tech to seven games. . Sauer, Mitera, Porter and junior Travis Turnbull were named to the GLI’s All-Tournament team.