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January 8, 2013

Soft goals, defensive breakdowns doom U-M in 5-1 loss

Red Berenson didn't even wait for reporters to ask a question Tuesday, noting he didn't have the answer to that which they would have asked - namely, what the heck was that? Michigan's second-half resurrection began with a thud. A 5-1 loss to Bowling Green at home that leaves one to believe the worst has yet to come.

"That game shouldn't have gone that way, but it did," Berenson said. "The puck went in too easy at one end. We couldn't generate anything. But, give Bowling Green credit, they got the goals they needed, and they played well."

Consider that in their last three games, the Wolverines lost to 4-10-3 Michigan Tech 4-0 in the opening game of the Great Lakes Invitational, 5-3 to the U.S. Under-18 team (essentially a team of high school all-stars), and tonight to a 5-10-5 Bowling Green team that hadn't score four goals in a single game all season.

So it's fair to ask if U-M hasn't reached rock bottom.

This one started off much like many of the rest have - with soft goals beating a Michigan netminder, this time junior Adam Janecyk, as the Falcons built a 2-0 lead just 7:50 into the game.

The Maize and Blue had a chance to get back into the game when BGSU forward Brent Tate was whistled for boarding, granting Michigan a five-minute power play at 8:07, but the Wolverines generated only one quality scoring chance en route to an 0-for-4 man-advantage night.

In the second period, junior forward Luke Moffatt redirected a Mac Bennett point shot at 3:03, tallying his first goal all year and giving U-M a little bit of life. However, at 11:46, BGSU forward Ryan Carpenter pounced on a rebound after a complete defensive breakdown in which two Falcons were left alone in front of the net.

"I don't know what the break did for some teams, but I can't tell you it helped our team," Berenson said. "We have been struggling defensively, and we are still struggling defensively."

That goal, and another at 14:27 of the second, seemed to demoralize the Maize and Blue, who generated just three shots on net in the third period. Sophomore forward Travis Lynch had a chance to create something positive but hit the post on a breakaway early while sophomores Phil Di Giuseppe and Alex Guptill couldn't even get a shot off on a 2-on-0 midway through the third session.

BGSU would add its fifth marker at 11:51, beating freshman Steve Racine, who had replaced Janecyk, with another soft goal.

U-M lost sophomore defenseman Brennan Serville early in the game with a shoulder injury, and lost Bennett late in the third period with a lower-body injury. Serville will likely miss this weekend's games against Alaska but Bennett should be back.

"We have no excuses," senior defensive captain Lee Moffie said. "Playing with five defensemen, you're getting plenty of rest. A guy goes down and we're ready for that. We do conditioning for that. Obviously, losing Brennen - he's a big part of our defensive corps - but we have no excuses."


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