Now that Billy Sauer has graduated, it is all on Bryan Hogan. The positive about that statement is Hogan has the ability and experience to start all of Michigan games. He already has 37 games under his belt, 31 occurring last year. Hogan was the solid rock Coach Berenson was looking for. After an early season battle with Sauer for playing time, Hogan emerged as the starter. He finished the year with a sparkling 1.97 goals against average. Though ending on a soft second goal in the NCAA semi-regional, Bryan Hogan hopes to lead his team 30 minutes down I-94 to the frozen four in Detroit. The negative about the statement is the depth. All of three minutes of hockey have been played by Shawn Hunwick at Michigan. Once a recruit for Adrian (a division 3 school), Hunwick is not big and definitely unproven. Recently added Patrick Summers, younger brother of team captain Chris, will serve as the third string. If Hogan is sidelined for any significant time, Michigan will be in considerable trouble.
Defensemen (Projected lines)
1. 4-Summers 6- Burlon
2. 7-Langlias 5-Kampfer
3. 34-Llwellyen 2-Pateryn
Extra -3-Vaughan, 13-Moffie, 20-Elmblad
The strength of the team should be the back end. Anchoring the defense will be seniors Chris Summers and Steve Kampfer. They had 17 and 13 points respectively last season and amazingly neither took a single penalty last season. Hopefully with an injury free season from Kampfer and sophomore Brandon Burlon, the powerplay unit will improve on their disappointing 15.8 percent from last year. Freshman Lee Moffie will also get into the mix for playing the point. Junior Tristin Llwellyen will be the bruiser among the group and will be relied on to clear the front of the net. Greg Patryn and Scooter Vaughan will fight it out for the 6th spot, and Eric Elmblad brings more depth.
Forwards (Projected lines) From LW to RW
1. 25-Wohlberg 29-Caprousso 27-Czarnik
2. 12-Hagelin 19-Rust 10-Brown
3. 14-Lebler 21-Treais 16-Winnett
4. 11-Lynch 23-Glendening 15-Ciraulo
Extra- 39-Sparks, 22-Rohrkemper
After a season where the wolverine offense averaged 3.54 goals per game, they would like to keep that up this season. The biggest lost in the off season was their leading point getter, Aaron Palushaj. He was the player who “stirred the drink” by moving the puck and set up his teammates for goals. Continued improvements from David Wohlberg and Robbie Czarnik along with the freshmen forwards will help make up for the departed Palushaj. Louie Caprousso (24 goals), Matt Rust (11 goals), and Carl Hagelin (13 goals) will be the key goal scorers on the team. Senior Brian Lebler and Junior Ben Winnett look to also add to their roles on the team to become more than forwards on the third line. Look for one of them to break the 10 goal mark. (I personally look for Lebler to do it more than Winnett) Freshman Chris Brown and Kevin Lynch have the size (6’2 and 6’1 respectively) and talent to be offensive threats, but the question is, when will that occur? Look for one of the two to contribute right way while the other comes along slowly. In the checking role, Luke Glendening, A.J. Treais, Anthony Ciraulo will center the bottom two lines. Glendening showed last year he is an effective checker and can score the timely goal. Jeff Rohrkemper and Lindsay Sparks will, for lack of a better term, spark the 4th line when injuries occur. The Penalty kill unit will be lead by the fantastic duo of Rust and Hagelin. They score half the teams shorthanded goals (3) last season. Wohlberg, Glendening, Czarnik, Ciraulo and Treais will add depth to the penalty kill forwards.
If the Wolverines can continue their scoring power, they will live up to their pre-season #1 ranking in the CCHA.