It is that time of the year again; October skies, leaves changing and Michigan Hockey! Red Berenson’s team will start the new season with two exhibition games against the United States National Developmental Program Under-18 Team and University of Windsor. The game to watch should be the one against the Under-18 team because not only is it against top college recruits, but five of them are currently committed to Michigan’s 2010 class. Jack Campbell (1) is a stud waiting to be Michigan’s starting goaltender and could challenge Hogan for playing time as soon as next year. Defensemen Jon Merrill (15) and Kevin Clare (4) will be replacing seniors Chris Summers (4) and Steve Kampfer (5) with their size and skill. Jacob Fallon (8) and Luke Moffatt (7) will be adding more scoring potential to an already potent Michigan offense.
There will be a couple of lineup battles going into the season. The top two centers will be Louie Caprousso (29) and Matt Rust (19), and David Wolberg (25) along with Carl Hagelin (12) will be wingers on the top two lines. Robbie Czarnik(27), Chris Brown(10), Kevin Lynch(11), Ben Winnett(16), and Brian Lebler (14) will fight it out for the final two wing positions. Freshman Lindsay Sparks (39) (Yes it can be a guy’s name) and Jeff Rohrkemper (22) will try show Coach Berenson they have the defensive reliability to be on the 3rd or 4th line. On the backend, Greg Pateryn(2), Scooter Vaughan(3), and Lee Moffie(13) will battle it out for the final defensive pairing and not end up in the 7th defenseman role.
The Wolverines will be challenged by America’s top junior program as the USDP has the talent and speed to keep up with Michigan for the first two periods. The third period will show Michigan experience and superior scoring skills. It will be a good test for this Michigan with high expectations. Prediction: 5-2 Michigan over U.S. under-18.