ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan forward Kevin Lynch’s fifth and sixth goals of the season sandwiched Wolverine defenseman Brandon Burlon’s fourth tally of the season, leading Michigan to a 3-2 win over Lake Superior in tightly-played contest at Yost Arena Saturday night.
After Friday night’s 7-2 Michigan win, the Lakers were determined to come out stronger in the series repeat matchup and did just that.
“It was a different game tonight,” said Michigan head coach Red Berenson. “We knew that Lake State would come out harder and more focused than the way they finished the game last night.
“Our team didn’t come out with as much fight and, as a result, we were on our heels for most of the first period. We gave up 15 shots and we were lucky the score was what it was, and then we had to pick it up from there on in.”
Both netminders played well. Michigan’s Bryan Hogan stopped 25 of 27 shots against him and Lake Superior freshman Kevin Kapalka posted 22 saves after being pulled from Friday night’s contest after one period.
Said Berenson, “Hogan had to be sharp, especially in the first period. They were all over us and had some glorious chances and not just perimeter shots. He was the difference in the game.”
Hogan is 12-1-1 in games played at Yost Arena since this point in the schedule last season.
“He did,” said Lake Superior head coach Jim Roque when it was suggested that Kapalka redeemed himself from Friday night’s shaky start. “I knew he would. He’s a good kid. He just needed to see this last night.”
Despite the strong Lake Superior start, it was Lynch’s first goal that opened the scoring.
Carl Hagelin on the balanced scoring attack: watch?v=g3AqmtNIbA4.
Lynch bagged his fifth goal of the season on an innocent-looking flip toward the Laker net from the left half-boards. The puck eluded a surprised Kapalka to give the Wolverines an opening 1-0 lead.
Acton knotted the score at 17:27 of the opening stanza, splitting the Michigan defense and beating Hogan stick-side.
“Tonight, I think the difference in the game was the one bad goal scored in the first period,” said Roque of Lynch’s first score. “It was an even game after that.”
Michigan made better use of their chances in the second period, pulling out to a 3-1 lead before Lake Superior closed back within one, 3-2, at the end of the middle period.
Burlon buried a screened shot from the center of the blue line at 4:38 to give Michigan a 2-1 lead. Louie Caporusso tenaciously worked to keep the puck in the offensive zone before Burlon unleashed his blast.
Caporusso’s shot from the right point at 13:13 bounded off Kapalka straight to Lynch cruising through slot. Lynch buried a one-timer for his sixth of the season and second of the game.
A.J. Treais on his line and the nature of confidence: watch?v=dP2rTFktR1Q.
The Lakers struck back only 17 seconds later when Fred Cassiani lifted a shot from the left circle high over Hogan’s glove hand to keep the Wolverines within shouting distance, 3-2.
Lake Superior just couldn’t find a way to beat Hogan and Michigan’s team defense in the third period and the 3-2 margin held up for the Wolverines.
“You have a one goal lead and you want to win the third period, but you can’t win at the expense of good team defense,” said Berenson. “I thought they had one good scoring chance in the third. Our team played better defense. We played hard. We played team hockey. That last shift was a great way to finish the game. You just don’t let the other team pull their goalie and get the extra man on the ice.”
“It was evenly played,” said Roque in summary of the contest.
“We’re good enough. We’ve just got to find a way to get over the hump, tie the game, get that go-ahead goal. Probably the only disappointing thing is that I thought our power play wasn’t very good. It’s been actually good the first twelve games. This weekend, it just didn’t seem that we could get anything going. I need guys like (Rick) Schofield, (Domenic) Monardo and Freddie Cassiani to produce on that.”
Michigan (8-3-3, 7-2-1-0 CCHA) travels on the upcoming holiday weekend to face Minnesota and Wisconsin in the College Hockey Showcase.
Lake Superior (5-7-2, 3-6-1-0 CCHA) will spend their holiday weekend at the Denver Cup, facing Denver and Clarkson.