Michigan played their second and final exhibition game on Monday night when the hosted the team from literally 2 miles down the road–the under 18 USA NDTP–beating them 3-1.
The first period was owned by the under 18 squad who got on the board first six minutes into the game on a goal from Nicolas Kerdiles. Assists came from Michigan recruit Jacob Trouba and Minnesota-Duluth recruit Kyle Osterberg.
Michigan was able to tie it up eight minutes later when Lindsay Sparks scored. Michigan outshot Team USA 12-7 in the first period, but Team USA had control of the game. USA was winning battles, was first to the puck, and was passing circles around the maize and blue. There was a lot of chasing going on with moments of clarity…
Then again, Michigan had seven of their freshman in the lineup, so you knew going into the game that it was going to be a bumpy ride, with only the game against Ontario Institute of Technology two nights before.
The second period saw 12 shots on goal for Michigan, but 14 shots on goal for Team USA. The tempo was taken up a notch, and Michigan seemed to start figuring things out. They began fighting back against the Team USA attack and creating some chances of their own.
USA defeseman and Michigan recruit Connor Carrick had to skate back to save what would have been a Michigan breakaway and distracted the forward enough that he only hit the post. Gasps were uttered around Yost Ice Arena, although their seemed to be hardly anyone in attendance–maybe 600 people?
Also in the second period, Michigan was able to score on a power play and take the lead for the eventual win when Luke Moffat found the back of the net.
The third period was when Michigan actually started looking like a team. All of a sudden they weren’t chasing Team USA around the ice, but skating with them and then eventually causing Team USA to have to chase the puck. They started throwing their weight around.
Michigan increased their lead one minute into the third period which seemed to set the tone. Freshman Phil DiGiuseppe scored his second goal in as many games. He looks like a kid who is going to be fun to watch this year and is really finding his feet on the ice with his new teammates.
Lindsay Sparks was EVERYWHERE last night….all over the ice and scored a goal.
The only time I really saw Chris Brown was when he almost got into a fight with Connor Carrick in the third period. He was on the scoresheet with an assist, but the big guy really wasn’t knocking any of the high schoolers around like you would have figured he would. In fact, the high schoolers seemed to be knocking Michigan around a whole lot more than they were knocked around!
I am a HUGE Chris Brown fan, so I was shocked that I didn’t hear more of the high schoolers hitting the boards or landing on the ice.
****UPDATE******I guess Chris Brown knew I was writing about him because he just scored a goal to put U-M up 5-0 over Niagra in their first official game of the season!! WOHOOO Chris!!!
AND Lindsay Sparks has a hattrick!! Wowsers this is a different team than the one I saw play on Monday night!*******
A.J. Treais was 12/16 in the faceoff circle and had 2 assists.
This team has a LOT to work on, but I think with time they will work a lot of their kinks out. It also doesn’t help that their All CCHA Rookie team defenseman Jon Merrill is sitting out for another 10 games with a suspension for violating team rules. The good news is the newbies are getting some very needed playing time. There are a lot of holes that need to be filled…only a matter of finding the right group of guys on the ice.