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Michigan salvages split against Falcons

BY CHRIS MESZAROS
Daily Sports Writer
Published January 17, 2009

It only took Michigan 90 minutes to get on the scoreboard during its series against Bowling Green this weekend.

And once the Wolverines got on the board, they couldn't add another goal,

But they had one taken away.

But one goal was enough for Michigan (16-8-0 overall, 10-6-0-0 CCHA) to win, splitting its series against the Falcons with a 1-0 win.

Sophomore defenseman Chad Langlais scored Michigan’s first goal of the series halfway through the second period, beating goaltender Jimmy Spratt on his lower glove side.

After receiving a pass near the blue line from senior Danny Fardig, Langlais fired a shot through traffic that beat Spratt for the first time this weekend.

In the third period, with just under three minutes to play, it appeared as if senior Tim Miller added a goal to give Michigan a 2-0 lead, but the referees reviewed the play and ruled that the puck was lodged under Spratt long enough to warrant a whistle.

But perhaps most concerning for Michigan is the status of its defense, junior acting captain Chris Summers went down with an injury 30 seconds into the game and didn’t play after that and was seen dressed in a suit on the Michigan bench.

Sophomore Tristin Llewellyn also suffered an injury to his left leg and was assisted off the ice by two of his teammates.

But Llewellyn returned later and was involved in a after the whistle scrum, taking one of the Falcons down to the ice in a vicious take down.

Langlais’s goal was one of the lone highlights in another sloppy game by the Wolverines and another impressive game by the Bowling Green goaltender. Though Michigan played with more energy than it did Friday, the Wolverines were either stifled by Spratt or Michigan missed opportunities.

Michigan fired 39 shots against the Falcons (8-13-3, 5-10-1-0) Saturday only to beat Spratt just once.

While Spratt was undoubtedly impressive, at times, Michigan made his job easier.

In the waning minutes of the second period, senior Tim Miller had a chance at a loose puck in front of Spratt, but was unable to tap in an easy goal.

When Michigan did have good chances, they were shot wide, mishandled or miraculously saved by the Falcon netminder.

Senior goalie Billy Sauer, who hasn’t played since Nov. 29 in a 3-0 loss to Wisconsin got the start in front of sophomore Bryan Hogan, who played in every game since.

Sauer played a steller game in net shutting out the Falcons and a last second desperation effort by Bowling Green on the power play.
Though neither team scored in the first period, luck clearly wasn’t on the side of the Wolverines, particularly Caporusso.

The sophomore had two great scoring opportunities in the opening stanza. On his first opportunity, Caporusso received a one-time pass from sophomore linemate Aaron Palushaj. However, Caporusso was tied up on the way to the goal and Spratt saved his diving attempt.

Later in the period with Michigan on the power play, Caporusso had another chance at a wide open net from a rebound opportunity that sailed high and wide.

The Falcons gave the Wolverines several opportunities to open up the scoring in the period, not only allowing 14 Michigan shots, but also taking four minor penalties.

However, Michigan seemed stuck in the rut that it left Yost Ice Arena in and was unable to convert.

Summers mentioned that the Wolverines were not prepared to play yesterday’s game yesterday, and though they played a better game tonight, there is little room for error for Michigan if it hopes to improve upon its fifth place standing in the CCHA.