After sweeping the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in Omaha, Neb., last weekend, the Wolverines return to Yost Ice Arena with the consensus No. 2 ranking. How will the Wolverines respond as the University of Alaska Nanooks take their trip to Ann Arbor?
Records: Michigan (7-1-0, 4-0-0), Alaska (0-4-0, 0-2-0)
Series vs. Alaska: Michigan leads 33-6-0
Season Series: First Meeting
Series in Ann Arbor: 17-3-0 Michigan
Last Meeting: 5-2 Michigan
U-M Offense vs. Alaska Defense
F - Kevin Porter (8-3-11, +2)
F - Chad Kolarik (3-6-9, +1)
F - Matt Rust (4-3-7, +2)
F - Louie Caporusso (3-4-7, +5)
F - Carl Hagelin (4-2-6, +7)
U-M Goals/Game: 4.1
U-M Shots/Game: 28.9
Alaska Goals Allowed/Game: 3.8
Alaska Shots Allowed/Game: 31.8
Outlook: Michigan's offense continues to impress me with a balanced attack capable of lighting the lamp at any time. Alaska will start two goalies this weekend, but neither one of them can boast a goals against average under 3.00 at this early stage in the season. Michigan's offense should have a big match up advantage here and the Wolverines should be able to put pucks in the net this weekend.
Alaska Offense vs. U-M Defense
F - Adam Naglich (0-4-4, -2)
F - Landon Novotney (3-0-3, Even)
F - Dion Knelsen (1-2-3, -3)
F - Aaron Lee (1-0-1, -2)
D - Tyler Eckford (2-3-5, Even)
Alaska Goals/Game: 2.0
Alaska Shots/Game: 21.2
U-M Goals Allowed/Game: 2.5
U-M Shots Allowed/Game: 24.1
Outlook: This is another match up that should slant in the Wolverines favor. Alaska doesn't have a premiere scorer this season, and the Michigan team is playing better defense this season from top to bottom. Watch for a good team defensive effort as the Wolverines hold the Nanooks at or near their season average in scoring this weekend.
Save Percentage: .896%
Save Percentage: .900%
Save Percentage: .892%
Outlook: Michigan's Billy Sauer had a strong weekend to steal the Wolverines a sweep in Omaha last week. Last season, that would mean it was time for a melt down in goal this weekend. Can Sauer maintain his high level of play for the third week in a row? That will be the test for the Wolverines If so, give Michigan the edge in this one as well.
U-M Power Play vs. Alaska Penalty Kill
U-M Power Play: 22.7% (2nd in CCHA, 10-for-44)
U-M Shorthanded Goals Allowed: 0
Alaska PK: 75.0% (10th in CCHA, 15-for-20)
Alaska Shorthanded Goals: 0
Alaska PIM/Game: 15.2
Alaska Power Play vs. U-M Penalty Kill
Alaska Power Play: 10% (12th in CCHA, 2-for-20)
Alaska Shorthanded Goals Allowed: 0
U-M PK: 82.9% (5th in CCHA, 34-for-41)
U-M Shorthanded Goals: 1
U-M PIM/Game: 15.1
Outlook: Michigan has its biggest edge on special teams this weekend. Alaska has not been a good team on either the power play or the penalty kill. If the Wolverines streaking power play gets too many chances, it could turn into a blowout.
The Wolverines got a wake up call last weekend despite the weekend sweep. Michigan was out skated in both games by the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, and if it weren't for the play of goalie Billy Sauer, it could have been a sweep the other direction. Now back at home, watch for the home crowd to energize the Wolverines as they look for their seventh and eighth straight win.
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