It wasn’t the third period sophomore goaltender Bryan Hogan expected.
After shutting out St. Lawrence through two periods, holding a 2-0 lead, Hogan and the Michigan hockey team seemed prepared to sweep St. Lawrence out of Yost Ice Arena.
But the second-ranked Wolverines somehow found themselves in a 3-3 tie late in a wild third period before pulling away at the end for a 5-3 win.
“From a goalie’s perspective, we would say that we gave up too many goals,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “From a coach’s perspective, we are glad we found a way to win. From a player’s perspective, the third period was a roller coaster.”
The Michigan hockey team’s goaltending was sketchy at times during this weekend’s series against St. Lawrence. Though senior Billy Sauer and Hogan ultimately came away with wins in their respective games, neither had jaw-dropping saves.
One of the Saints’ late goals Saturday was deflected off a Michigan defensemen standing in front of the net. Earlier, Michigan’s defense turned the puck over in the defensive zone, leading to St. Lawrence’s first goal. But the blame doesn’t lie entirely on the shoulders of the blue-liners.
“I know (Hogan) will be frustrated by some of the goals,” Berenson said. “A couple of the goals were not even scoring chances, but they found their way in. It is tough for a goalie when you give up those types of goals. Otherwise, I liked his poise. I liked his game.”
In Friday’s season opener, senior Billy Sauer started in net and had problems of his own. Sauer gave up three goals on 31 shots, but two of the goals he allowed came off rebounds.
“I think Billy will probably look at those rebounds and say ‘I should have controlled them,’ ” Berenson said after Friday’s game. “I’m not going to say they were bad rebounds, but they were juicy rebounds. If a goalie can make the save, that’s No. 1, but then you control your rebounds.”
Berenson plans to give both goalies significant time in the beginning of the season. Although no rotation is set for the two, Hogan will likely see more playing time than last year, when he played in six games.
Sauer started 38 games last season, partly because Hogan was battling mononucleosis at the start of the season. By splitting time now, the Wolverines hope both goalies will be ready for critical games later.
“I think it’s good that the team gets confidence in both the goalies, that they can play and help us win,” Berenson said.
A different type of scoring: Michigan defensemen scored a total of six goals last season. In this weekend’s games, they reached a third of that total.
Sophomore Chad Langlais scored on a one-timer from Matt Rust on Friday and in Saturday’s game, sophomore Tristin Llewellyn scored a goal on a bouncing shot from the top of the left circle. It was the first career goal for both players.
“To be honest, I really couldn’t believe it went in, I sat there and thought ‘What just happened?’” Llewellyn said.
Michigan’s defense looks to add to the offense, especially after last year’s lack of production from the blue line.
“The coaches, during the offseason, during the fall, stressed that we wanted to get the defensemen involved offensively,” Langlais said. “We didn’t put up a lot of points last year in the defensive corps, so we’re trying to work in it this year.”
Injury Update: Senior captain Mark Mitera sustained a serious knee injury during the final seconds of the first period Friday. He received an MRI that revealed significant damage and he and his family will consider surgery. Mitera will miss several months at minimum. The Wolverines were already depleted on defense this weekend.
Freshman Brandon Burlon didn’t see action because of an ankle injury in practice. Burlon, who was wearing a boot on his left foot Saturday, is week-to-week.
Sophomore Tristin Llewellyn, who suffered concussion-like symptoms in last weekend’s exhibition games, didn’t play Friday. He returned to the ice on Saturday and scored Michigan’s first goal of the game.