Coach Mel Pearson and the rest of the Michigan Wolverines got to sing The Victors on Saturday night with a 3-2 with two last minute goals by Jake Slaker to give them the sweep of the weekend.
The Wolverines only got to sing The Victors once last season after they swept Penn State at Yost Ice Arena in legendary Coach Red Berenson’s final home game at Yost Ice Arena.
Michigan came into the weekend off an early season bye week and coming off a 3-0 loss against Clarkston on October 8.
Entering the home opening series against Vermont, Michigan would go scoreless until Sophomore Will Lockwood scored on a breakaway to beat Vermont goaltender Stefanos Lekkas to make it 1-0 Wolverines. The Wolverines offense would continue to roll and get shots on Lekkas throughout the second period. With less than a minute remaining, Junior Brendan Warren would find the back of the net with a wicked wrister and make it 2-0 Michigan.
One of the most highly touted Michigan freshman this season Josh Norris would earn his first goal as a Michigan Wolverine with a wide open shot from a nice pass from Jake Slaker to redeem himself from his missed penalty shot in the first period.
“I think he went too slow,” Coach Pearson recalled the Norris penalty shot.
Towards the end of the third period, Norris would net his second goal of the game with a little help from freshman defenseman Quinn Hughes. Hughes would feed Norris for the one timer to beat Lekkas and to seal the Wolverine’s 4-1 home opener victory. The Wolverines outshot Vermont 46-16 and sophomore goaltender Jack LaFontaine earned his second win of the season.
It would start out differently for the Wolverines in Game 2 of the weekend series as the Vermont Catamounts would come out with a different kind energy. Vermont would take it to the Wolverines offensively taking many shots on goaltender Hayden Lavigne, where freshman Max Kaufman would put them up 1-0.
Inside of the final two minutes of the first period, Michigan sophomore Adam Wimborg would tie the game 1-1 for the Wolverines. Vermont would outshoot the Wolverines in the first period 9-8.
Both teams would have a lot of scoring opportunities but both goaltenders would stand tall in the crease. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they would give up a power play goal by Vermont’s Drew Best and it seemed like some of the arena’s energy was sucked out of the building. Michigan would trail Vermont 2-1 at the end of two periods.
In the third period, the Michigan offense seemed to get an extra gear and would claw themselves back into the game. At 15:07 Jake Slaker would fire a one-timer passed Lekkas and tie the game 2-2.
Slaker would score the game winning goal with just: 54 remaining in the game where Slaker would find a goaltenders weakness the five-hole to put the Wolverines on top 3-2.
After the game, Coach Pearson talked about Jake Slaker.
“[He’s] got it all at practice and in the game. When it counted he put one in.”
Over the course of the early season, Coach Pearson has preached about staying with game plan and
what his team has to do to succeed this season.
“Staying with the game plan. Some nights it doesn’t turn out for you but you have to stay and keep focused. They got rewarded for it.”
The Wolverines head to State College, Pennsylvania to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions who seemed to have had the Wolverines number in recent years.