We’re LIVE from Yost Ice Arena where No. 16 Michigan will take on No. 18 Lake Superior State in the Wolverines’ first game of 2012.

Michigan has won four of its past five games and is coming off an overtime win over Michigan State in the Great Lakes Invitational — a nice confidence booster.

But perhaps the biggest turn of fortune for the Wolverines is the return of sophomore defensemen Jon Merrill. Merrill was suspended indefinitely from the team in early October for a violation of team rules. He began practicing with the team again in November, and has since played for Team USA in the World Junior Championships.

The Lakers have dropped their last 13 games to Michigan. Join the Daily hockey beat for all the action live from Yost.

FIRST PERIOD SUMMARY

Michigan easily dominated possession the first period, and Merrill’s first appearance came in the second shift.

Everything about the Wolverines looked clean, which made it easy for them to score first. Freshman forward Travis Lynch scored the first goal of 2012 easily on a breakaway. Lynch won a faceoff down by fifth-year senior netminders Shawn Hunwick and darted down the ice to easily whiz one past Laker goalie Kevin Kapalka.

Hunwick did make some big saves, but he also saw his fair share of abuse from Lake Superior State. A Laker slammed into Hunwick, knocking him to the ice and his helmet off. The whistle was blown and it took several moments before he got up. Hunwick was also shoved into the back of the net and a few shoves were exchanged between junior defensemen Lee Moffie and the Laker who pushed Hunwick.

Michigan scored its second goal of the period when freshman forward Alex Guptill fed a pass through traffic in front of the goal to senior forward David Wohlberg. The right side of the net was wide open for Wohlberg to shoot the puck past Kalpalka. Merrill also tallied his first point of the season with an assist.

Michigan leads in shots on goal 12-11.

SECOND PERIOD SUMMARY

The beginning of the second stanza started out rough for junior forward Chris Brown. In the span of minutes, he had to breakaways towards the goal. The first, he lost control of the puck as he worked it around the back of the net, the second, he couldn’t keep up with the puck as he took it in front of the crease.

He made up for it though at the end of the period. Guptill’s shot rebounded off the backboard and landed on the crease. Brown shoved it past both the bodies in front of the net and Kalpalka to tally his 7th goal of the season.

But Brown’s goal was after the Lakers answered with a goal of their own. Nick McParland shot from the top of the circle and through Hunwick’s legs.

The second period also saw the first look of Michigan’s power play, with Merrill. The special team unit, however, left something to be desired, especially when the Lakers almost scored on a breakaway. The defensemen were caught out of position, but the puck bounced off the pipes.

The Wolverines still lead on shots on goal, 24-21.

THIRD PERIOD SUMMARY

The biggest change for Michigan at the start of the third stanza when sophomore backup goalie Adam Janecyk took to the pipes to replace Hunwick, but remained unclear as to why Hunwick was not in the goal.

With the seasoned Hunwick off the ice, senior defenseman Greg Pateryn and junior forward A.J. Treais’s penalties were ill-timed. However Michigan’s penalty kill unit easily killed them off.

Janecyk’s good fortune didn’t last and Lake Suprior State popped the puck over his shoulder for an easy goal to close the goal gap to 3-2 Michigan.

With 11 seconds left, Brown scored an empty netter for his second goal of the night. Final score, 4-2.

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