Lake Superior State series falls between marquee matchups for Michigan hockey team
Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson glanced over his right shoulder at the Great Lakes Invitational trophy as it sat on its perch inside the team’s offices.
“Looks good there, doesn’t it?” Berenson asked rhetorically with a sly grin.
With the trophy secure at Yost Ice Arena for another year, the next high-profile series for the Wolverines (11-8-3, 5-6-3-1 CCHA) opens Jan. 13 at No. 2 Ohio State, which will culminate with an outdoor game at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Sandwiched between is this weekend’s two-game home series against No. 18 Lake Superior State. Berenson said he’s not worried about the danger of his team looking past the Lakers.
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
Berenson said there hasn’t been much buzz in the locker room for the outdoor game yet because, quite frankly, the team’s been too busy to be excited.
“There will be (excitement) once we get back in sync and get back into our routine and then realize, ‘geez we’re playing in two weeks in an outdoor game’,” Berenson said. “Right now, it’s Christmas break, the GLI, the NHL outdoor game, and geez, we’ve got a game coming up.”
Having tunnel vision toward the Lakers (12-8-2, 7-6-1-1 CCHA) is something alternate captain defenseman Greg Pateryn said won’t be a problem.
“We’re always focused on that first game and not really worried about anything else, even though it might be a big event like an outdoor game,” Pateryn said. “I think everybody’s had (the outdoor game) in the back of their mind, thinking about the game and how it’s going to be a cool experience and everything, but right now we’re just worried about Friday and this weekend’s series.
“We’ll worry about Ohio State next week.”
Three things to watch for against Lake Superior State
If you plan on watching Michigan take on Lake Superior State this weekend, be it at Yost or on TV (Friday, Fox Sports Plus, 7:35 p.m.; Saturday, Comcast 900, 7:35 p.m.) here are a few things to watch:
1. Continuing emergence of Luke Moffatt
The sophomore forward recorded his fourth goal and his fifth and sixth assists of the season at last weekend’s GLI to lead the team with three points in the two games along with linemate Kevin Lynch. Moffatt’s speed to the puck and strength when possessing it made him one of the more dangerous players on the ice. The fact that he’s on the fourth line will be a matchup advantage for Michigan against Lake Superior State. Moffatt was named CCHA offensive player of the week on Tuesday.
2. Comparable goaltending.
Michigan senior goaltender and Lake Superior State sophomore Kevin Kapalka are 25th and 26th in the nation in save percentage with .917 and .916, respectively. The two also have nearly identical goals against averages as well, Hunwick with 2.41 and Kapalka with 2.45. An advantage for Hunwick is a team in front of him that averages 3.55 goals per game, fifth best in the nation, to Lake Superior State’s 2.68, 35th in the nation.
Though Michigan and Lake Superior State have similar records, Michigan has enjoyed more recent success with a 4-0-1 record in the past five games compared to the Lakers' 2-3 mark.