One of the greatest goals in Michigan history was scored by Aaron Palushaj this past weekend. I was in the stand watching it instead of looking at it from a media perspective as i could have been but i saw it nonetheless and it was glorious. Taking on three defenders is dangerous in hockey and he got mugged on the way to the goal, so much so that the ref was going to call a penalty before the puck went into the net, by which time he had waved it off. It could be a season changing moment for the winged helmets on ice.
After Fridays game there were undoubtedly a group of bloggers who would be willing to write off Michigan as unable to compete without Mark Mitera in a tougher more physical CCHA compared to years past. However the St. Lawrence Saints came out with the same game plan that NMU came into Yost with last year and got out played at their own game by the maize and blue. Palushaj's goal aside this game was determined in the corners, by the hits who was tough who could endure more of the beating, clearly by the end of the game the answer was overwhelmingly clear. This year's Michigan hockey team is incredibly well conditioned and is ready for a hard hitting season this year.
Goaltending looked good, the team as a whole was imperfect, but perfection is a hard thing to ask for, especially so early in the season. The first line looked good with Hagelin, Rust and Palushaj. It seems clear to me that Carl Hagelin has been lifting some weights this past summer because he was not merely toughing it out in the corners and in front of the net, he was giving it back to the opposing defenders. Watching this team play last weekend makes one wonder if the hockey conditioning coach could work with Barwis on the football team.
The only things in the immediate future that i am regretful of is that Michigan's next two games will not be televised from Marquette, and that WOLV will not be able to present anything to you hockey related until November.
Stay tuned for a preview of Northern Michigan.