Important Note: Saturday is ALS awareness night at Yost so come to the rink if you can and support Wolverine alum Scott Matzka in his fight against ALS http://scottmatzka.com/
Who: #12 Michigan vs Union
Where: Yost Ice Arena
When: Friday, 7:30pm EST. Saturday, 5:30pm EST
Hockey season is finally upon us with the Wolverines opening the 2016 season at Yost with a visit from the Union Dutchmen.
Coming off a 13-14-9 season Union didn’t get much admiration in the ECAC Preseason polls. Despite returning most of their team from a year ago the Dutchmen were picked to finish 7th in the coaches poll and 8th in media poll out of twelve teams.
This season the Dutchmen return 9 of their top 10 scorers from last season led by three talented upperclassmen in Mike Vecchione, Spencer Foo and Ryan Scarfo as well as underclassmen Brett Supinski and Sebastian Vidmar.
The Dutchmen are a tough team offensively. They play an opportunistic style of hockey that starts with a hard forecheck to force turnovers and they work to get to the dirty areas of the ice in front of the opposing goaltender.
On the blueline Union returns almost all of their defensemen from a year ago and a senior goaltender in Alex Sakellaropoulos. In his first full season as a starter Sak posted a .921 SV% and a 2.32 goals against; those are great numbers on their own, but they’re particularity impressive considering the Dutchmen blueline allowed an average of 28 shots per game to reach their goaltender.
The Wolverines picked the worst possible time to schedule a team like Union for the opener as these two teams are polar opposites at this point in the season. The Dutchmen return almost all of their forwards, defensemen and goaltender while the Wolverines lost most of their scoring, their two best defensemen and Steve Racine.
Michigan will be without Cooper Marody for the next 16 games so that leaves Alex Kile as the only proven scorer to shoulder the scoring load. Jake Slaker is going to be your #1 center and he played well in the exhibition; Will Lockwood also played well against Windsor and will get a top-6 spot.
All eyes are on the goaltending situation. I think you will see Zach Nagelvoort on Friday and Jack LaFontaine on Saturday. The Windsor exhibition didn’t clear anything up this weekend’s series should.