Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the Michigan hockey team was 22-4 when scoring the first goal this season.
In Saturday night’s first round matchup against Bemidji State, the Wolverines’ pattern continued as they netted the game’s first tally in their 5-1 win over the Beavers.
Just over six minutes into the contest, sophomore forward Luke Glendening tipped in Chad Langlais’s slapshot from the left point, giving Michigan the 1-0 lead.
Four Wolverine penalties in second half of the period stalled Michigan’s chances of gaining momentum. While the Wolverines were shorthanded for much of the opening frame, the Beavers didn’t manage their first shots on net until about eight minutes remaining.
Following the first period, Michigan carried the five-on-five play to Bemidji State for much of the second period. At the 13:30 mark, junior Louie Caporusso threw a cross-ice pass to a cutting A.J. Treais, who deflected the puck on net, but Bemidji State netminder Dan Bakala rose to the occasion and saved the scoring opportunity.
The Beavers attempted to throw their weight around against the Wolverines to slow them down during the middle frame, but the maneuver failed as Michigan forechecked the Bemidji State defensemen, forcing multiple turnovers in the process.
The only quality scoring chance of the period for the Beavers came when Jordan George went one on one with Wolverine goalie Shawn Hunwick and Hunwick stopped George’s backhand attempt.
With a minute left in the period, it looked like the score would remain 1-0 heading into the final 20 minutes of play. But the Wolverines went on a four-on-three advantage and Caporusso ripped a wrist shot from the right circle over Bakala’s shoulder to give Michigan a 2-0 lead.
Midway through the third, Bemidji State finally got on the board on one of its many power plays. Beaver Ian Lowe received a cross-ice pass and one-timed a shot past Hunwick. Prior to the goal, Bemidji State hit the post and had two grade-A scoring chances that just missed going in the net.
But the Wolverines responded two minutes later, as Carl Hagelin received a quick touch pass from Kevin Lynch on a give-and-go play. Hagelin deposited the puck into a wide open net. With about four minutes left, Hagelin added a shorthanded goal for good measure followed by an empty netter by senior Brian Lebler.
The score would remain 5-1 for the remainder of the game. Michigan will move on to play Miami (Ohio) on Sunday in the regional final at 8 p.m. The winner will head to the Frozen Four in Detroit in two weeks.