Monday, December 29, 2008

U-M defends GLI title, shells Spartans

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

When Michigan State’s Tim Crowder was sent off for elbowing with only two seconds remaining in the first period, it wasn’t a good sign of things to come for the Spartans.

Deadlocked at one goal apiece in Sunday’s Great Lakes Invitational final against Michigan, the penalty served as a springboard to a Wolverines offensive outburst in the second period.

Shortly after the Spartans killed Crowder’s penalty early in the period, Michigan’s Ben Winnett scored on a brilliantly orchestrated 3-on-2 from Travis Turnbill and Brandon Naurato, pushing the go-ahead and game-winning goal past the stacked pads of Spartans senior goalie Jeff Lerg.

The Wolverines would make themselves at home inside the Michigan State zone for the remainder of the game, outshooting the Spartans 36-5 the rest of the way while adding three more goals en route to defending their title, 5-1.

“We got the momentum and the goals to go with it,” Michigan head coach Red Berenson said about the final two periods.

“Our team was working hard at getting second chances and rebounds.”

Michigan sophomore Louie Caporusso sealed up the tournament MVP award early in the third period with a highlight-reel goal when he broke free, avoided Lerg’s poke check, and lifted a backhand into the top shelf.

“It’s a great feeling,” Caporusso said.

“But any of my teammates could have gotten the MVP, too. It’s the championship that matters.”

Caporusso scored four goals over the weekend and now has 18 on the season, leading the nation.

Senior captain Chris Summers recorded three assists, a career-high, and sophomore Bryan Hogan improved to 11-1-0 on the season.

Michigan became the first GLI team to repeat since Michigan State did so in 1999-2000 and defeated the Spartans in the finals for the first time since 1995.

“It’s great to turn that page in Michigan history and make our mark,” Caporusso said of the feat.

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