The Michigan Wolverines (23-7-1, 14-6) remain red hot after completing the season sweep over the weekend against the spiraling Michigan State Spartans (11-18-1, 5-15) who have now lost 10 games in a row.
Despite being down their top four scorers due to Olympic participation in Beijing, the Wolverines won at Yost on Friday, 6-2, and again in Detroit (“Duel in the D”) on Saturday, 7-3. The Spartans never led in either game and only scored in two of the six periods.
Both games featured four-goal outbursts from Michigan to erase any hope Michigan State may have had entering the third periods. Much like Michigan’s last series against Wisconsin, several players chipped in for these offensive avalanches.
Five different players scored goals on Friday night and six different players scored on Saturday. All in all, there were nine unique goal scorers for the 11 goals this weekend with Jimmy Lambert and Luke Hughes each putting two in the back of the net.
Moreover, Hughes notched three points in each game and his three total goals over the weekend moved him into a tie with Dean Turner (1976-77) for first place on the all-time list for goals by a U-M freshman defenseman.
Never to be outdone for the Wolverines, sophomore goalie Erik Portillo was his usual stout self. The Super Swede stopped all 12 shots before being pulled for Jack Leavy with 6:10 remaining on Friday. On Saturday, he stopped 22-of-25 shots but only surrendered one even-strength goal. While the best defense for the Wolverines recently has been a potent offense, the sophomore net-minder has proven capable of still making a timely save or penalty kill.
The Wolverines will return to action this Friday at Yost for their second series of the season with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan and Ohio State split their first series in Columbus back in December. Michigan’s 6-1 loss on Dec. 11 to the Buckeyes represents the worst defeat of the season for the Wolverines and the last time they lost in regulation.
Despite still being shorthanded, Michigan will look at avenge that defeat and take another step closer to winning the Big Ten.