It was the final non-conference game of the season, and after last weekend's four extra frames to beat Saint Joseph's, the Wolverines would need to keep the pace and momentum if they wanted to beat the Drexel Dragons.
After being down by 4-1 in the second period, Peter Kraus scored one time and Mike Francia scored two more times to bring the score all even at four a piece. Francia would score one more time in the game, leading Michigan scoring with three on the day.
Without Ian King in the lineup, scoring was going to be difficult, but the Wolverines did what I thought they would, and kept this game very close. However, giving the nod to the home team didn't quite work out Saturday. Peter Kraus, though, has done an admirable job filling in for King, putting 12 points on the stat sheet in three games.
Michigan had their chances, and they did well in the one area they were going to have to succeed in order to stay in it: face-offs. Being able to split the face-off wins (10 of 20), as Brad Lott did, went a long way to keeping Michigan in a position where this game could have gone their way. Get blasted at the dot, and Saturday would have been a long day.
It just wasn't enough at the end of the day. King's absence is clearly hurting this team, and they really need to figure out how to put more points on the board and do it more consistently. Is Peter Kraus the one to make up for King's missing goals? I don't know. But, the -2 goal hole Michigan is in right now isn't going to get any shallower against the Maryland Terrapins next weekend.
Gerald Logan, as always, is a bright spot for Michigan. He finished the day with 13 saves against Drexel, which is right in line with his season average of 13.29 for the season. After eight games he's down just a tick to 13.25 on the year. Consistent, eh?
So, now at 4-4 Michigan will go up against the 5th-ranked Maryland Terrapins on their home turf in College Park to start the Big Ten season. The game will be at 5 p.m. on March 28th and can be seen on BTN. Stay tuned to Maize n Brew for a preview of Saturday's game.