It took 48 penalties for the Michigan hockey team to get the message.
Referees will be calling the games tighter this year.
Michigan had the opportunity to practice its special teams play in exhibition games at Yost Ice Arena this weekend, defeating the United States National Team Development Program 4-1 on Saturday and Waterloo University 3-1 on Sunday.
A total of 31 penalties were called in the first game, 15 of them on the Wolverines.
And while Sunday’s game against Waterloo had far fewer calls on both teams (17 total), coaches say the Wolverines must still adjust to the new officiating system.
One reason for the high number of infractions was the new CCHA rule that puts two referees on the ice, as opposed to one last year.
“As you can tell, and I warned the players about this, there’s always going to be a referee that can see what you’re doing, so you can’t take any liberties,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “The players have to learn from that.”
But regardless of who was in the box, the Wolverines took advantage of the situation. Michigan scored four power-play goals on the weekend, and didn’t allow a single short-handed goal.
Against Waterloo, sophomore forward Louie Caporusso picked up the game-winning power-play goal late in the first period. Fellow sophomore forward Carl Hagelin flashed through the offensive zone, and after Hagelin deflected his shot, Caporusso knocked the puck past the Waterloo goalie to put Michigan up 2-0.
The Wolverines would add another power-play goal in the third period to take a 3-1 lead.
While Michigan’s power play connected on two goals in Sunday’s game, it lacked the cohesive passing and puck handling featured in previous years. In the waning minutes of yesterday’s game, Michigan had a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes but was unable to capitalize.
With the regular season still a week away and half the weekend’s offense coming on the man advantage, Berenson was still pleased with the unit’s performance over the weekend.
“The power play is a work in progress,” Berenson said. “We’ve got literally three units out there just using our lines. I thought they moved the puck good, they got shots through and got a couple of ugly goals, but that’s what you want on the power play.”
On Saturday, sophomore forward Matt Rust notched a pair of power-play tallies, including the game winner. On the first goal, sophomore defenseman Chad Langlais missed a shot from the blue line and Rust knocked it in off the rebound.
“I think (Langlais) missed the net on purpose because the puck bounced right on my stick, and you’ve got to be terrible to miss that one,” Rust said.
While top-line players like junior alternate captain Chris Summers, Rust and sophomore Aaron Palushaj will likely get plenty of power-play time this year, some freshmen also got to show off their skills on the man advantage.
Freshmen defenders Greg Pateryn and Brandon Burlon saw plenty of time on the man advantage in yesterday’s game.
“We’re looking to see if these guys can produce on the power play,” Berenson said. “I’d like to have three units, really. We’re looking to see what we have. You might never play on the power play again, or you might be able take advantage of your chance.”