The Wolverine

January 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 59 Record: 6-10-2, 2-7-1 Big Ten National Ranking: Unranked in both national polls; No. 29 in College Hockey News' KRACH Ratings; No. 38 in the Men's Division I Pairwise Rank- ings (USCHO Projection) Best Win — 4-1 over No. 6 Penn State Dec. 6: The offense that head coach Mel Pearson had been waiting on finally emerged against the Nittany Lions in the front half of a weekend two-game series. The Wolverines scored in nearly every way possible — on freshman defenseman Cam York's power-play goal, redshirt junior forward Luke Morgan's short-handed goal, fresh- man forward Johnny Beecher's even- strength goal and senior forward Jake Slaker's empty-net goal. Sophomore goaltender Strauss Mann had his shutout bid spoiled with just more than two minutes left in the contest, but contributed to the victory with 34 saves. Three Stars of the Month First Star — Redshirt junior for- ward Luke Morgan: In addition to netting the team's first short-handed goal of the season in a 3-1 win Dec. 1, Morgan became the first Wolverine to score short-handed goals in back- to-back games since Scott Matzka in March 2000 when he started the scor- ing in the 4-1 win over Penn State Dec. 6. Ironically, the late Matzka, who fell victim to ALS in 2018, was being honored on #ICEALS night at Yost the night of Mor- gan's feat. The Brighton, Mich., native continued his hot offensive hand the following night, Dec. 7, with the Wolverines' lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Penn State. Second Star — Graduate student for- ward Jacob Hayhurst: With his pesky fore-checking and strong defensive play, the graduate transfer from RPI proved that goal scoring isn't always the only way to affect the scoresheet. Hayhurst chipped in two assists in Michigan's 4-1 victory at New Hampshire Nov. 22 and contributed excellent faceoff numbers while performing effectively on both spe- cial teams. Third Star — Sophomore goaltender Strauss Mann: The Greenwich, Conn., product continued his season of solid goaltending, holding his teammates in games. With his two near-shutouts in 4-1 victories against both New Hampshire and Penn State, Mann has been a top per- former in nearly every outing this season. Through his 17 starts in the Wolverines' first 18 games, Mann has posted an ex- cellent 2.06 goals against average and an equally stellar .931 save percentage. Freshman Impact — Forward Johnny Beecher: Despite missing two games due to injury, Beecher leads Michigan in goals (five) and overall scoring (nine points). The Boston Bruins' first-round selection in last June's NHL Draft posted two of those goals in Michigan's 4-1 win at New Hamp- shire Nov. 22. The Elmira, N.Y., native has seen substantial ice time on both special teams and contributed positively in the face-off circle for Michigan in his initial collegiate season. Quotable: "I'm really proud and happy for our players. They've put in a lot of hard work. Maybe we haven't gotten results for all the hard work they've put in, but tonight they did. I thought it was our most complete game, from start to finish, in all phases — penalty kill- ing, power play, five on five, faceoffs, you name it." — Michigan head coach Mel Pearson after the 4-1 win over Penn State Dec. 6 Player to Watch — Freshman de- fenseman Cam York: The Anaheim product has brought his renowned offensive acumen to the Michigan attack. Having missed four of the Wolverines' first 18 contests with an early season lower-body injury, York is still tied for second overall on the team stat sheet in both goals (four) and points (eight) from his position on the blue line. Two of those goals have come on the power play, which he effectively quarterbacks. Must-See Series — Dec. 30-31 at the Great Lakes Invitational: The holiday season has meant one thing to college hockey fans in the state of Michigan for 55 years — the annual trek to Detroit for the Great Lakes Invi- tational tournament. This season's ver- sion of the venerable two-day affair starts Dec. 30 with a pair of first-round games between Michigan Tech and Michigan State at 1 p.m., followed by Michigan and Ferris State at 4 p.m. Winners play winners and losers play losers on New Year's Eve at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., with all the action taking place at Little Caesar's Arena in Detroit. Future Wolverine Watch — Forward Brendan Brisson: Quietly, Chicago Steel forward and class of 2020 Michigan com- mit Brendan Brisson has been putting together a quality season in United States Hockey League (USHL) play and interna- tional competition. The 5-11, 180-pound left-shooting forward has steadily climbed the USHL skater stat sheet with his nine goals and 13 assists for Chicago and was named USHL Forward of the Week Nov. 19. Sup- plementing those numbers, Brisson has chipped in a goal and an assist for Team USA in early pool play in the 2019 World Junior Challenge in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Brisson's strengths are his high hockey IQ, and his outstanding skating and puck- handling skills. — Bob Miller   MICHIGAN HOCKEY Hockey Rewind: Nov. 11-Dec. 17 Through the season's first 18 contests, redshirt junior for- ward Luke Morgan had scored three goals, including short- handed markers in back-to-back games Dec. 6 and 7. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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