DETROIT — Louie Caporusso’s natural hat trick in the game’s opening thirteen minutes helped Michigan sprint out of their holiday break to a 5-0 win over Michigan Tech late Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The trio of goals also catapulted Caporusso into the nation’s lead for goal scoring at 17. Entering the contest, he was tied with Boston College’s Brock Bradford for the nation’s lead in goal scoring, each with 14.
Anthony Ciraulo scored his first of the year late in the initial period for Michigan and defenseman Brandon Burlon added his second of the season as insurance in the third stanza for the Wolverines.
Although Michigan Tech had only managed four wins prior to the tourney opener, the Huskies had hoped to build on the previous weekend’s sweep of Upper Peninsula rival Northern Michigan, facing a Michigan squad that came into the game after a two-week hiatus.
“”That was the big question; how rusty we would be,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “Michigan Tech has been playing all through the holiday every weekend. You would think they would have a bit more game sharpness. Louie’s line got us off to a good start and we just built off of that. When you score two goals early, it puts the other team on its heels and gives our team a bit more confidence.”
“Obviously it was huge,” agreed Caporusso. “Any time you can get a start like that, especially after a big layoff, it makes it a lot easier on everyone.”
Only one short year ago, the Huskies had battled the Wolverines to a heart-breaking 1-0 double overtime loss in the GLI tournament final.
Michigan netminder Bryan Hogan’s second shutout of the season stretched his winning streak to four games for an overall record of 10-1 in games he’s started. Hogan clearly understood, though, that he was tested very little in the contest.
“The team played very well,” said Hogan. “They made it easy to play.”
Caporusso’s opening goal was initiated by a Wohlberg steal of the puck behind the Huskies’ cage. Wohlberg’s centering pass allowed Caporusso an easy tap-in past defenseless Huskies’ goaltender Josh Robinson at 3:17.
Only 19 seconds later, Caporusso found himself alone in front of the net with a rebound on his stick and again beat Robinson.
Caporusso completed the natural gem at 12:04, having to shoot around Wohlberg, who had just been dumped into the Michigan Tech net prior to the goal.
“I saw him duck his head,” laughed Caporusso of Wohlberg’s final contribution to the scoring play.
Clearly disappointed in his team’s performance, Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell said, “I think you have to give Michigan credit. It was a tough night for our freshman goaltender. We needed our older players to lead the way. We needed somebody to step up. You make soft plays, you’re going to pay the price.”
Michigan (12-7) will play arch-rival Michigan State in the final. The Spartans upset North Dakota in the other game. The Huskies will take on the Sioux in the late afternoon consolation matchup.