Dec 6, 2012, 10:50 AM EDT
The Irish have finally strung together two strong games in a row at home, giving Lake Superior State their first series sweep of the season. Up until this point, the Lakers had split every single series they had played in. Part of this sweep was due to the Irish’s onslaught of shots (and, more importantly, quality scoring opportunities) in both games, putting up 67 shots in the two games compared to Lake Superior’s 47 shots. The other part was due to a couple intangible factors on the ice:
- Costello is a physical presence on the ice. Although his stature doesn’t quite match up to that of Stephen Johns, forward Jeff Costello plays with tenacity like no other. In this weekend’s games he could be seen throwing his body around in the corners, lowering the shoulder for big hits along the boards, and being an overall menace to play against. He was effectively able to get under the Lakers’ skin and agitate them. This is a priceless trait for a hockey player because agitating the other team generally means drawing them into taking penalties, and with the way the Irish power play has been producing, they’d like all the man-advantages they can get.
- DiPauli emerging as a top penalty killer. Freshman forward Thomas DiPauli is finding his niche on the team. Although he’s a young player with a great deal of offensive potential, his ability to kill penalties is really standing out. He’s able to break up some power plays before they even reach the Irish zone. He has a great ability to read the play and know what move a player is going to make or where the puck is going. This hockey sense coupled with excellent agility on his skates make him a difficult opponent to run a power play against.
The Irish have another home series this weekend against the Spartans of Michigan State. With Anders Lee being named CCHA player of the month and Mario Lucia being named to the USA World Junior team preliminary roster, the team and its personnel are clearly standing out. After a weekend at home like last’s, the Irish will have confidence and home-ice advantage—quite a dangerous combination. Some wise words for Michigan State: Watch out.
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