ANN ARBOR, MICH. — The Wolverines continued to have trouble with Northern Michigan at Yost Ice Arena. Wildcat worries plagued Michigan again Friday night as defenseman Ryan Carrigan scored 53 seconds into overtime to give the Wildcats a 1-0 victory.
“It’s the most exciting goal I’ve ever had.” said Carrigan, who tallied his fourth goal in 36 games at the perfect time.
Wildcat sophomore Craig Kowalski made 28 saves in the shutout. Ironically, Kowalski would be playing for Michgan today, had Red Berenson the room on his roster two years ago.
“This is the team I grew up watching,” Kowalski said. “I wanted to show them that they made a mistake.”
This is the second shutout over Michigan in Yost for Kowalski, who beat the Wolverines at home 2-0 last season. “Every time he steps in this building he’s especially ready,” said Northern Michigan head coach RickComley.
The hot netminder has stopped 78 of 82 shots in three games this season.
The Wildcats (2-0-1, 2-0-1 CCHA) are the only team besides Lake Superior State that owns a winning record in Ann Arbor at 6-5-1. Michigan is now once again below .500 at 2-3-1 and 1-2-1 in conference play.
“I don’t know how we do it,” Comley said. “It’s tough to play here.”
Michigan senior goaltender Josh Blackburn, who had given up three goals in each of the previous five games, only gave up one Friday, but received no offensive support from a Michigan squad with six freshmen forwards in the lineup.
“I was telling [Michigan coach] Red [Berenson] today … [that] he’s going to be in overtime and he’s going to call for his lineup with [Mike] Comrie and [Andy] Hilbert and Jillson at the point, and they’re not going to be there,” said Comley.
Comrie, Jillson, and Hilbert all left college early for the pros, leaving Michigan with 12 new faces on its roster.
Michigan had some outstanding chances in the game, one of which stood out specifically. Highly touted freshman Milan Gajic, who has been in and out of coach Berenson’s lineup all season, missed a sure-fire way to bring his collegiate game out of the doghouse halfway through the second period.
The freshman had a wide-open rebound opportunity to the left of the Northern Michigan net. The puck was on his stick, a gaping hole lay in wait, and Gajic, on one of his easiest opportunities as a hockey player, clanked the puck off the left post.
Northern Michigan couldn’t break through Blackburn’s wall in regulation either. The Wildcats’ best opportunity came with less than two minutes left in the second period. Ironically, it was Carrigan’s point shot that curled through the traffic in front if the net, popping out to the left where sophomore Alex Sawruk had a wide open net. Sawruk botched the shot over the
The Wolverines played without the services of experienced junior defenseman Mike Roemensky, who said Friday he will be out for three weeks with a foot injury before returning.
Defenseman Brad Fraser played his first game of the season in his place. Sophomore David Wyzgowski returned to action for his first game this season after battling mono for the first month of the campaign.
The Wildcats and Wolverines meet again Saturday night at 7:35 p.m., in Yost Ice Arena.