The Wolverine

March 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2019 THE WOLVERINE 91 BY BOB MILLER M ichigan head coach Mel Pearson didn't know exactly what to ex- pect from his 10-member freshman class when training camp started last September. From the start of camp, Pearson put two of those newcomers — for- wards Garrett Van Wyhe and Nolan Moyle — on a line with sophomore forward Dakota Raabe, and the result has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the Wolverines' season. The trio played solidly on the de- fensive end early in the first half of the schedule and have increased their offensive output steadily in the second half of the season after the holiday break. "We've had them together for a long time, since the very beginning of camp," Pearson said. "I think the mo- tivation was that Garrett and Dakota had some chemistry together. We used them killing penalties, and we put them together. Then we were looking for someone to complement them. "We tried Nolan there, and he seemed to adjust well with them. Since that, we've kept them together, and they've been really good — more than really good." Raabe has always been noted for his speed and tenacity on the fore- check. The native of Capistrano Beach, Calif., who was a member of the surfing team in high school in addition to hockey, contributed four goals and two assists in his freshman season. Through Feb. 18, he already has five goals and seven assists with a plus/minus of plus-3. Van Wyhe, a Seattle native, had four goals and four assists and a plus/minus of plus-5. Two of those goals were scored shorthanded. Moyle, who hails from the New York City northern suburb of Bri- arcliff Manor, had four goals (two game-winners) and three assists. The line's calling card has been de- fense. Pearson found out quickly that the three could be relied on to play vital minutes against the opposition's strongest offensive line. "We've had the confidence to play them against other teams' top lines," Pearson said. "What we saw in them, first and foremost, is a work ethic, a defensive responsibility. They weren't cheating for offense. "They were just out there playing their game, and they started to take pride in that. They got some confi- dence, and they gave us confidence, as a staff, to say, "We can play these guys against anybody.' And, it's be- cause of their sheer work ethic. "They skate well. Dakota and Gar- rett skate extremely well, and Nolan gets around, too. They all have some defensive awareness. "We didn't see much offense until just recently, and now they've broken out there, too. That's been a bonus. That's been a real plus. They took pride in playing against other teams' top line, and now they've got some real confidence and swagger about them." "It's really nice, especially with two freshmen and a sophomore playing against the other team's best line," Van Wyhe said. "It's a lot of responsibility, but we embrace it. We make sure to do the job. "We need to keep buying in to what Coach has to say. That's the game plan for us, keeping it simple by using our strengths. It's worked for us so far. "I think that I just bring some speed and intensity to the line, and work hard in the corners. All three   MICHIGAN HOCKEY Young Line Is Building Chemistry On Both Ends For The Wolverines Sophomore forward Dakota Raabe has been part of a strong defensive line, while contributing five goals and seven assists through 30 contests. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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