The Wolverine

February 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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The Best Is Yet To Come Paired Together At Last, Defensemen Jon Merrill And Jacob Trouba Look For A Strong Finish To The Season A By Michael Spath ssistant coach Billy Powers noticed it immediately. Two shifts into Michigan's Jan.  12 home affair against Alaska, junior defenseman Jon Merrill wasn't moving his feet efficiently. Powers expected U-M's standout blue liner to have an "off" night, and he did, but only because he had been worked too intensely an evening earlier; Merrill had returned to the lineup just days before, Jan. 8, after missing the first 19 contests of the season with a cracked vertebrae, and he wasn't physically ready for the grind of back-to-back games. "It was my fault because I overplayed him Friday," Powers said. "He was on the ice for 29:30 in our first game with Alaska, and then you watch Saturday night's game and people would say, 'That's not the Jon Merrill I know.' But I think when you're out as long as he was, and you don't have your legs, and you get too much ice time, and your conditioning isn't where it will be, you'll play Trouba (left) and Merrill (right) were minus-2 in their first five games paired together, but that was expected to change quickly because both are plus players that can impact offensively. photo by Lon Horwedel

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