Last week, I said that Michigan’s Phil Di Giuseppe had the best personal performance out of the Hurricanes NCAA prospect pool but Mark Alt’s Minnesota Golden Gophers had the best team performance. It’s now a week later and Di Giuseppe now holds both titles as he picked up a pair of assists in the Wolverines 6-3 over Bentley University while Alt was held without a point in the Gophers’ weekend series against Michigan Tech. Minnesota also lost the first game of that series 5-3 and Alt had himself a very rough night to say the least. He was on-ice for three goals, two of them coming at even strength and he didn’t look good on either of them.
The first goal is the highlight reel tally from Alex Petan, and most of you have probably already seen it by now. Petan does an amazing job to keep his balance and score from his knees on a breakaway. Fantastic effort by Petan as that is an incredibly hard shot to pull off, but rewind the tape to about 10 seconds before the goal and you’ll notice a Giveaway at the Michigan Tech blue line by #20, which leads to an odd-man rush going the other way. Alt’s defense partner did him no favors by deciding to converge on the puck carrier instead of playing the shot or the pass, but Alt’s giveaway alone was pretty bad. To make matters worse, Alt would have a similar blunder toward the end of the period where he mishandled the puck at the Michigan Tech blue line and it led to a partial break the other way. Lucky for him, his defense partner was able to break up the pass but Alt failed to get back in time to cover the eventual goal-scorer Dennis Rix, who scored an easy goal.
The next night was a much better night for Alt and the Gophers as they took home a 3-2 win and Alt was on ice for no Michigan Tech goals. He wasn’t on ice for any Minnesota goals either but a good night for Alt is usually one where he doesn’t have his name called a lot, which was the case in the previous game. It’s also worth mentioning that the Gophers limited Michigan Tech to only 18 shots on goal in a close game, so the defense was definitely doing their job in a way. Alt had two shots on goal and blocked three shots, as well. I said that I was expecting some more offense from Alt this year, but after the debacle on Friday night, I’m content with him having a sound defensive game for now.
Back to more positive news, Phil Di Giuseppe and the Michigan Wolverines had a very good game against Bentley on Friday night, as they defeated the Falcons 6-3 and outshot them 56-25. Di Giuseppe recorded two assists, which gives him four points in three games on the year and he also recorded three shots on goal. The Wolverines had to do a bit of rallying as they fell behind early but they really came at the Falcons hard in the third period, outshooting them 24-8 and scoring outscoring them 3-1. The Wolverines have done a nice job of bouncing back after the opening night loss to RIT by winning their next two games but they are going to have a tough challenge ahead next week when the #3 ranked Miami Redhawks visit the Yost Ice Arena. Let’s see if PdG and company are up for the challenge.
The only other Carolina prospect in action this weekend was goaltender Collin Olson, who got the start for the Buckeyes in their Saturday night game at Quinnipiac. Olson ended up taking the loss after giving up 2 goals on 27 shots, which isn’t a bad night by any standards but the Buckeyes could only muster up one goal on the evening and the Bobcats tacked on an empty netter to get the victory. Unfortunately, there is no video available for this game so I can’t tell you how Olson looked but by save percentage standards, he had a pretty good game and he’s done well in both of his starts this year in giving up only 4 goals in 56 shots.
Once again, PdG is the top performer of the bunch this week but I’m interested to see how he and the rest of Michigan perform when they face top-tier team this Friday.