Saturday is the first official day of the college hockey season, and it is beginning in fine fashion. MIchigan will travel to Big Rapids to take on Ferris State in an intra-state inter-conference battle.
Here's some notes to get you ready for Saturday's game.
-Michigan comes into the game ranked 8th in the USCHO poll. Ferris State is ranked 9th. That ranking seems a little generous for both--Michigan's because of name recognition, Ferris State because of their strong season last year. Both teams have a pretty good chance of ending up near the NCAA tournament by the end of the season, and this game could end up making a huge difference in which side of the bubble each teams ends up.
-Last year's game at Yost was an excellent one. Ferris State scored late in the third period--one of many blown third period leads for Michigan--to force a 2-2 tie. Ferris State has never been an easy place for Michigan to play. The Wolverines are 24-19-4 at Ewigleben Arena, compared to 68-29-4 overall against the Bulldogs. Saturday's game out 10 days in advance of the game and the crowd should be rocking in the small building.
-For the second straight year, it will be a brother vs. brother battle. CJ Motte will start in goal for Ferris State, while his younger brother Tyler Motte skates for Michigan.
-Andrew Sinelli was questionable for this game after cutting his hand with a kitchen knife. Sinelli eventually did return to practice this week, and should be available on Saturday.
-Sinelli will be competing for a spot on a Michigan blue line that will be looking for a big improvement this year. The Michigan Daily's Jeremy Summitt(@jeremysummitt) tweeted out that Zach Werenski and Kevin Lohan were established as a defensive pairing, with a lot of mixing and matching going on with the other defensemen.
Reading between the lines, it sounds like Werenski and Lohan will be the top pair. It's good news that Werenski is coming in as good as advertised. Though also a little concerning none of the other defensemen have really established themselves yet.
-Summitt also tweeted that the only freshman expected to be in the line-up on Saturday are Dylan Larkin(duh), Zach Werenski(duh), and Dexter Dancs. Take out the other freshmen and you can mostly extrapolate who will be dressing for Michigan.
-If you're the type of person that follows college football news outlets like World News Tonight or Good Morning America or NPR or Al-Jazeera, you may have heard it's been a bit of a crazy week in the Michigan Athletic Department. As part of a last ditch effort to save his job, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon
answered pressing questions in a timely manner supported his head football coach visited a bunch of teams on Michigan's campus to try to curry support, leading to a bunch of tweets from hockey players like so:
@DaveBrandonAD and his staff have always had my best interest in mind as a student and an athlete. No one more passionate about the block M— JT Compher (@Jcomph7) October 1, 2014
So if Michigan loses in embarrassing fashion on Saturday and tries to blame it on a simple 'miscommunication', that's probably why.