The Wolverine


The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MAY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 27 "We went in and sneaked away with a couple of close, low-scoring games, and that just gave us a good feeling in the locker room," Mann said. "Once we had that feeling … we had the same game plan and played the same way and stuck together, but when you get a good feeling, confi- dence rises. They were able to score a little more, get some chemistry out there. "We were improving our defensive game even more, even though it was pretty strong in the first half, and I think we were a hard team to beat." Mann put in the time during the offseason and believed in himself, the way he did when he tried out for the USHL's Fargo Force as a long shot and led the team to a title. He shrugged off an incon- sistent freshman year to blos- som into one of the nation's top goaltenders, finishing this season with a .939 save percent- age (third nationally) and a 1.85 goals against average (sixth). He became Michigan's first- ever Mike Richter Award finalist (one of five vying to be named the NCAA's best goalie) in addition to a Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year finalist (winners had not been announced as of April 24). His hard work in the offseason was the key, according to teammate and forward Jack Becker. "He's the definition of just 'all in,'" Becker explained. "He's an extremist in everything he does with hockey. He's just so dialed in. Every day is hockey, and he's thinking about how he can get better. "His diet … he's so disciplined in everything he does, and he's so fo- cused. I think that really translates to his performance on the ice." Mann leaned on assistants like former U-M goalie Steve Shields and others to up his game, and he did. He recorded six shutouts (second most in the NCAA) to tie the Michigan single-season record while establishing new program marks in goals against average and save percentage. "It was about making reads in games, learning to basically figure out what makes me good, what doesn't," he said of his improvement. "Making that the foundation of my game, learning to add other things to increase my chances to make every save, putting myself in position to make the next save … little things like depth control, squareness, mo- mentum, all areas." Added up, it led to an elite perfor- mance. Mann did not get the chance to help lead Michigan to a deep run in the postseason, but he just might have. He will be back next year to give it another shot. ❑ Another Trio Worth Considering There were plenty of worthy mentions for this award. Here are three other final- ists for Michigan Male Athlete of the Year: • Mason Parris (wrestling) — The sophomore won a junior world champi- onship this summer, was ranked the 20th best college wrestler nationally by FloWrestling regardless of weight class and finished seventh in's most dominant wrestler standings. He could have been No. 1 if he'd finished first or second at the NCAA Championships, which were canceled. Parris was runner-up at the Big Ten Championships, led the Wolverines with a 28-1 record and 11 falls, and pinned six of his nine Big Ten dual-meet opponents. • Jack Hallahan (soccer) — The unanimous All-Big Ten selection became the first player in program history to earn three career first-team selections. He was named United Soccer Coaches All-North Region (first team), Big Ten Offensive Player of the Tournament and ranked third on the team in points (16), notching five goals and six assists. He finished his career ranked second at U-M in points, third in goals and tied for third in assists. • Felix Aubock (swimming) — Aubock was a three-time Big Ten champion (500-yard freestyle, 1,650-yard freestyle, 800-yard freestyle relay), and won the 500 and 1,650 freestyles for the fourth straight year, becoming the first man to do that since Chris Thompson (U-M, 1998-01). The senior was not able to defend his NCAA title in the 1,650 but earned five All-America honors and an All-Big Ten nod. — Chris Balas Teammate Jack Becker on Mann "He's the definition of just 'all in.' … He's so disciplined in every- thing he does, and he's so focused. I think that really translates to his performance on the ice." Mann was one of five finalists for the Mike Richter Award, which goes to the top goalie in college hockey. No Wolverine had ever before been a finalist for the honor that was created in 2014. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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