October 11, 2012 by Casey Hart
I could get used to the hockey-every-night thing that’s been happening this week. (It would be even better if there were a North American professional league, too.) Thursday featured what—at least from the box scores—look to have been two great games out in Michigan. Both winners had to come from behind, and there were 15 goals scored by 15 different players.
Well, the Tigers went and spoiled opening night at Yost Arena in what looks to have been quite a thriller. They trailed 3-0 late in the first period but got a goal from Josh Mitchell in the final minute of the frame and scored three times in the third to force overtime. Adam Hartley ended the game just 14 seconds into the extra session. The RIT win came despite a 0-for-5 night on the power play and a 44-26 edge in shots for the Wolverines.
In a matchup of two teams seeking answers after losing standout netminders, RIT junior Josh Watson did more for his team than U-M rookie Jared Rutledge. Watson, who put up great numbers in three starts last season, made 40 saves, and two of the four goals he allowed came on power plays. While Rutledge will likely have better nights, another highly touted U-M freshman—defenseman Jacob Trouba—skated on the top defensive pair and logged a goal and an assist, both on power plays.
Michigan seeks revenge Friday.
These two schools are hardly neighbors, separated by about a five-hour drive across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but they are playing a home-and-home series this week. (Game 2 is Saturday at Tech.) Like in Ann Arbor, the home team jumped on top early in this one, as Kellan Lain put the Lakers ahead in the opening minute of their season. Blake Pietila scored for the Huskies in the second and Dennis Rix gave the them a 2-1 edge early in the third, but Lake State came back with three goals in nine minutes.
The Lakers’ three third-period goals came on six shots. They were outshot 33-22 for the game but got 31 saves from Kevin Kapalka. The win was a great start for a team that, despite a seventh-place finish last season, was picked by the league coaches to finish last in the 11-team CCHA.