8A - Friday, October 24, 2008a
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
MICHIGAN 4, NIAGARA 2
Sophomore Louie Caporusso pokes in his first of two goals in Michigan's 4-2 victory over Niagara last night at Yost Ice Arena.
Power-play unit breaks out of 154-minute slump
By GJON JUNCAJ Michigan, the Wolverines were
Daily Sports Writer caught over-handling the puck
at times, losing possession and
Entering its fifth game of the sea- constantly working to reset their
son, the Michigan hockey team had offense. Michigan coach Red Beren-
one noticeable blemish it couldn't son saidsuccessful power-play units
seem to get rid of. treat the puck as a "hot potato,"
The Wolver- NOTEBOOK keeping defenders in motion in an
ines' power-play effort to catch one out of position.
unit had been a cause for concern, "I thought we were better
as Michigan had converted a paltry tonight," Berenson said. "Our man-
3.2 percent of its chances entering date to our team is we need to play
Thursday night, a far cry from last harder, we need to play better with
season's 20.5 percent conversion the puck and without the puck. And
rate, which was 12th in the nation. the goals will come later."
But with 6:34 left in the second Just over five minutes into the
period Thursday, Michigan soph- third period, Michigan's second
omofe forward Aaron Palushaj power-play unit provided a text-
momentarily quelled the doubts book example of the fast-paced
surrounding the Wolverines' extra- tempo Berenson wants. Senior for-
man attack. Palushaj's slapshot ward Brandon Naurato sent a quick
from the top of the left circle beat backhand pass across the crease to
Niagara goalie Juliano Pagliero senior forward Travis Turnbull,
stick-side and ended a power-play who then found sophomore forward
scoring drought of nearly 154 min- Louie Caporusso in the slot. Capo-
utes. russo then sniped the shot between
One of Michigan's two Tuesday Pagliero's legs.
practices was almost entirely dedi- Michigan finished two-for-five
cated to practicing the extra-man with the man-advantage, its best
attack. Last weekend at Northern power-play performance to date.
GOING DEEP: After mixing and
matching his lines in the first few
weeks of the season, Berenson may
have finally found athirdline. While
the third unit of sophomore Ben
Winnett and freshmen David Wohl-
berg and Robbie Czarnik tallied just
one combined assist last night, the
trio skated well in the open ice and
created a number of scoring oppor-
"I thought (the third line) got off
to a bit of a slow start, but they got
better and they wound up having a
good game," Berenson said. "I think
that has a chance of being a good
Wohlberg and Winnett had an
excellent scoring opportunity with
a two-on-one rush six minutes into
the game, but Winnett couldn't han-
die Wohlberg's crossing pass, and
Pagliero stopped a point-blank shot
with his rightleg.
"I thought Ben Winnetthad a ter-
rific game tonight," Berenson said.
"And yet he didn't get rewarded'
with any goals. But his team won.
And when you have everyone play-
ing hard for the team, you're going
to be successful."
Last year's top line of Kevin Por-
ter, Chad Kolarik and Max Pacio-
retty scored an astounding 158
combinedpoints.For the Wolverines
to come close to replacing such pro-
lific offense, scoring depth through
all four lines will be critical.
MEASURING STICK: Saturday's
game at No. 6 Boston University
will be the highlight of Michigan's
Wolverines will only have today to
craft their game plan against the
Terriers, though Berenson said
Wednesday his team doesn't alter
the team's schemes too much, even
against a highly-ranked opponent.
Berenson had high praise for the
Purple Eagles Thursday, saying
Niagara was a precursor to what
awaits the Wolverines on Satur-
"(Niagara) is an NCAA-type
team," Berenson said. "We played
them last year in the tournament
and they might be as good now as
they were then. I can't say we are,
but that was a good game for us, to
prepare us for Saturday."
By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
All season, members of the
Michigan hockey team have said
they expect to score by commit-
But don't tell that to sophomore
forwards Aaron Palushaj and
Together, the duo has scored
half of the team's 18 total goals
through the first five games.
"We're just having fun out
there," Palushaj said with a shrug,
downplaying his importance to
And as long as it's enjoyable for
the sophomores, the Wolverines
will take all the goals they can get
Palushaj and Caporusso each
tallied a pair of goals last night,
paving the way for Michigan's 4-2
victory over Niagara (1-3) at Yost
But the Wolverines (1-1 CCHA,
4-1 overall) didn't have as much
breathing room as the score indi-
With just over five minutes
remaining in the first period, a
cluster of players scrambled for
the puck in front of the Michigan
goal. The puck slipped out from
under sophomore goalie Bryan
Hogan toward the left post, where
Purple Eagle forward Dan Baco
tipped it in for a 1-0 lead.
Hogan lay sprawled on the ice,
looking atthe flashingred lightfor
"I had no idea where that was,"
Hogan said. "I thought it was out
in front, then it ended up over
there, and it was a mess."
The Purple Eagles' early lead
held through most of the second
Then, the Wolverines turned
around one of their most glaring
weaknesses of the season thus far
- the power play.
Entering the game 1-for-32 on
the man advantage, Michigan
converted twice last night. Both
proved to be game-changing
The first came with 6:43 left
in the second as Palushaj slapped
a one-timer from the left circle,
connecting on a perfect pass from
sophomore defenseman Chad
And Caporusso followed suit
shortly afterward with a wrap-
around goal after picking up the
rebound from sophomore defen-
seman Scooter Vaughan's wrist
"If you have a shift right after
you score and score again, that's
son said. "We were lucky."
The Wolverines continued their
habit of scoring goals in pairs. Just
as in last Saturday's second period
against Northern Michigan, Mich-
igan fed off the adrenaline rush.
But after Hogan let up a Niagara
rebound goal late in the second,
the Wolverines and Purple Eagles
entered the game's final period
deadlocked at two.
Six minutes into the frame,
Caporusso capitalized on a pass
from senior forward Travis Turn-
bull a few feet in front of the net
for a five-hole lamp-lighter. Later,
Palushaj tacked on an empty-nett-
er to put the game out of reach.
The game marked Hogan's sec-
ond consecutive start, something
he didn't do all last season. After
tallying 23 saves in last Saturday's
victory over Northern Michigan,
he saved another 23 shots last
night. Hogan said he likes seeing
more shots because it puts him
in a rhythm and keeps him more
Berenson said senior netminder
Billy Sauer will start Saturday's
game at No. 6 Boston University.
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