#2 Michigan vs. Alaska Preview

No. 2 Michigan aims for its fourth straight sweep this weekend when the Alaska Nanooks come to town for two CCHA games. What can you expect to see at Yost Ice Arena as the Wolverines return home to do battle with the University of Alaska.

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?

Series Notes
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.
Advantage: Michigan

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.
Advantage: Michigan

Goalies
Michigan
Billy Sauer
Record: 7-1-0
GAA: 2.49
Save Percentage: .896%

Alaska
Chad Johnson
Record: 0-2-0
GAA: 3.04
Save Percentage: .900%

Wylie Rogers
Record: 0-2-0
GAA: 3.51
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.
Advantage: Michigan

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.
Advantage: Michigan

Prediction
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.
4-1 Michigan and 5-3 Michigan

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