The Wolverine

February 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 52 of 67

FEBRUARY 2021 THE WOLVERINE 53 BY AUSTIN FOX M ichigan kicked off the second wave of its season with three straight rivalry series, facing Michigan State Jan. 8‑9, Ohio State Jan. 15‑16 and No. 16 Notre Dame Jan. 21‑22. Each series featured two games, with the Maize and Blue going 5‑1 during the stretch. Their only loss occurred at Michigan State (3‑2) Jan. 9. U‑M's offense, in particular, was on fire from Jan. 8‑22, scoring at least four goals in four of the six contests. Junior defenseman Nick Blanken‑ burg and freshman forward Kent Johnson were each honored by the conference during the month, with the latter being named the Big Ten First Star of the Week Jan. 13 and the former the league's Second Star of the Week Jan. 19. Blankenburg set up the game‑win‑ ning goal in Michigan's 4‑2 triumph over Ohio State Jan. 15, while tallying two assists in U‑M's 5‑0 shutout of the Buckeyes Jan. 16. Johnson, meanwhile, registered one goal and four assists in a 9‑0 de‑ struction of MSU Jan. 8, marking the first time a Wolverine had logged five points in a game since JT Com‑ pher achieved the feat on March 18, 2016. "I'm very proud of our team," head coach Mel Pearson said af‑ ter U‑M's 3‑1 win at Notre Dame Jan. 22, the sixth and final contest of the team's six‑game rivalry stretch. "Our defense was strong and so was our goaltending. We were oppor‑ tunistic on a few of our chances to finish. "That was a real solid win, because it's hard to sweep in this league." WILL A WOLVERINE BE THE NO. 1 PICK IN THE NHL DRAFT? On Jan. 5, ESPN's Chris Peters took a look at which prospects could po‑ tentially go No. 1 overall in the up‑ coming NHL Draft, which is set to take place July 23‑24. Peters singled out one player as having the best chance of being chosen with the top pick — current Michigan freshman defenseman Owen Power. "The 6‑foot‑5, 214‑pounder is a highly mobile defenseman with ter‑ rific hockey sense," Peters wrote. "He was the No. 1 prospect on my first draft ranking for the class [Oct. 22], largely due to the body of work he had coming into this season. "Power was the USHL's [United States Hockey League] Defense‑ man of the Year at age 17. He had 40 points in 45 games for the Chicago Steel, which was on pace for a re‑ cord‑shattering campaign. His team was stacked with first‑rounder [and Michigan freshman forward] Bren‑ dan Brisson, second‑rounder [and Northeastern freshman forward] Sam Colangelo and a host of other draft picks dotting the lineup, but it was clear that Power was a driver on that team, dictating so much of the game from the back end." Peters went on to note that Pow‑ er 's "raw tools are intriguing," and that he "defends really well, with a long reach and high‑end footwork." The ESPN analyst also listed six other players who could potentially be chosen with the No. 1 pick, and tabbed another Wolverine amongst the group — freshman forward Matty Beniers. "A speedy, gritty center with skill, he is making a stronger case to chal‑ lenge his Michigan teammate," Pe‑ ters wrote. "Beniers would not be your traditional No. 1, but he does so many things well that in this crowded draft year, it's hard to rule him out. "He might be one of the few in‑ stant‑impact players available in this class." ❑ MICHIGAN HOCKEY U-M Enjoys Successful Six-Game Rivalry Stretch Freshman forward Kent Johnson tallied one goal and four assists — the first five-point game by a Wolverine in nearly five years — in U-M's 9-0 victory at Michigan State Jan. 8. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - February 2021