Two ranked opponents came into Oosterbaan Fieldhouse this weekend with the intention of knocking off the #1 team in all the land, but Minnesota-Duluth and Colorado State probably wish they hadn’t even bothered to try.
The Wolverines had to shake off some cobwebs after what must have been a rough week of class. They didn’t manage to score until the Bulldogs had already gotten on the board, the first time this season Michigan has trailed in a home game(!). However, they flipped the “dominate” switch immediately thereafter, as Davis Reinhard won the ensuing faceoff, then found Josh Ein for a goal just 7 seconds after Duluth. Trevor Yealy got going immediately thereafter, and Duluth didn’t stand a chance. Yealy scored a program-record 11 goals in the contest, three of which came consecutively in the first quarter for a natural hat trick. Then he got a hat trick of hat tricks. And two more goals. Wes McGowan (2) was the only other Wolverine with multiple goals. Though he gave up 10 goals, sophomore goalkeeper Mark Stone made several exciting saves in his first complete game of the year. The highlight for Duluth came on their last goal of the night, as Casey Mithun shot behind his own back to beat Stone. Still, the Wolverines dominated this game nearly from start to finish, winning 18-10.
#8 Colorado State
After the slow start on Friday, Michigan wasn’t bound to let Colorado State get on board first the following night. Kevin Zorovich drew first blood with just under 6 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The final goal in that quarter was the night’s highlight, as Riley Kearns (perhaps inspired by UMD the previous night) shot behind his back to beat the goalie. Eager to make up for the first 9 minutes of lost time, Michigan tacked on 3 more goals before the first break. The Wolverines kept the offense humming in the second quarter, as they led 9-0 before CSU finally got on the scoreboard with under 5 minutes remaining. Though Michigan didn’t have a dominant individual performance like they did the previous night, the team effort on Senior Night may have been even more impressive. The final score of 16-3 saw only two Wolverines (Yealy with 4 and Zorovich with 2) score multiple goals, and sophomore Andrew Fowler faced only 10 shots, saving 7.
After the long home stand, Michigan finally hits the road, traveling to Kalamazoo and Chicago to face Western Michigan and Illinois. The Illini are barely ranked in the top 25, but with the way Michigan has been dispatching even better teams, the neutral site (Lake Forest High School) shouldn’t give them too much of a problem. As the team is finally leaving the confines of Oosterbaan fieldhouse, I won’t be able to attend both games, and the comprehensive wrapups must come to an end, but I do plan to attend Friday’s game (at Vicksburg High School), and will be able to give a complete recap of that contest.