BOWLING GREEN — During its first full week of practices last week, the No. 4 Michigan ice hockey team ran extensive special teams drills in preparation for its two-game weekend series against Bowling Green.

And when they took the ice against the Falcons (0-2-0 CCHA, 0-2-0 overall), the Wolverines’ special teams practice paid off.

Michigan (2-0-0, 2-0-1) racked up 62 total penalty minutes in its two wins at the BGSU Ice Arena, including two game misconducts for checking from behind to senior forward Scooter Vaughan and freshman defender Mac Bennett in Saturday’s 4-2 win.

But the penalty kill was solid, limiting the Falcons — a team that had torched them for three power play goals in their first matchup last year — to two power play goals out of 17 attempts in the two games.

“This is a tough time of the year for power plays to really get it going because they’re just getting some confidence,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said after Friday’s game. “With the penalty killing, I think it’s easier to be a good PK team this time of year.”

Through three games, the penalty kill has continued its dominance from last year, allowing just three goals in 25 opportunities, and picking up two shorthanded goals of its own, the first coming from senior center Matt Rust in the season-opener against Mercyhurst, and the second from senior forward Louie Caporusso on Saturday.

According to Rust, regardless of the team’s successes this weekend, the bottom line is that the team is taking too many ill-advised penalties.

“I’m guilty myself,” Rust said after Friday’s 4-1 victory. “We need to find ways to stay out of the box, we’re just killing way too many penalties.”

OLD DOG LEARNS NEW TRICK: Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was Caporusso getting his first penalty-kill action of his Michigan career.

Caporusso has been a specialist on the power play for a few seasons, but Berenson sent him on the ice to stave off a Bowling Green man-advantage opportunity on Friday. And when Michigan was down a few men in game two of the series, Caporusso heard his name called again.

With just six seconds left in a second-period Bowling Green power play on Saturday, Caporusso capitalized on a centering pass from senior Carl Hagelin on a 3-on-1 counterattack after a center-ice steal, beating the goaltender with a slapshot for his second goal of the season.

“I credit the coaches for having trust in me,” Caporusso said on Saturday. “If you want to play hockey for a long time, you’re going to have to learn to play in the defensive end and play the PK, so I’m pretty excited about it.”

Expect Caporusso to continue to bring a force on both ends of special teams play — in addition to the shorthanded tally, he also has a goal and three assists on the power play.

INJURY NOTES: In the opening minutes of the second period on Saturday, Rust was tripped up in front of the Falcons’ net. After being helped off the ice, Rust didn’t return to the game.

The type of injury has not been specifically disclosed, but it is being called a “lower body injury.”

As a member of Michigan’s top line, it was a blow to the team, forcing Hagelin to move over to center on that line as Vaughan and freshman Derek DeBlois filled in for Rust.

“No matter what you do, you’re going to miss a guy like Matt Rust — our top centerman and arguably top penalty killer,” Berenson said. “He’s a real force on the team to lose that early in the game.”

After Vaughan and Bennett were relegated to the locker room following game misconducts, the Michigan bench had to run just three lines.

“I looked down the bench at one point and I was like, ‘Is there anybody on this bench right now?’ ” Caporusso said. “It seemed like every time you got off that you were right back out there. Sometimes that’s good because you get into the swing of things, but it can kind of grind you down after a while.”

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