The Wolverine

February 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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58 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2022 BY ANTHONY BROOME M ichigan (18-6-1) returned from the holiday break with a full ros- ter and opened the 2022 portion of the schedule with a weekend sweep of defending national champion UMass Jan. 8-9 at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines grabbed a 4-1 victory in the first game and came back with a 4-2 win in the finale. Head coach Mel Pearson was thrilled with his team's ef- fort in the weekend series. "They make you earn every inch of the ice, earn every goal that you score and the opportunities you get," Pearson said of UMass, via MLive. "I thought our players were dialed in. I give them a lot of credit. I just told them in the locker room, whatever they did this weekend, keep doing it. Especially from the preparation standpoint, because we were ready. We were prepared and we played hard. We earned everything that we got this weekend, so good for them." The series was also key in bringing the participants from the World Junior Championships back into the fold. De- fensemen Owen Power (sophomore) and Luke Hughes (freshman), and forwards Matty Beniers (sophomore), Kent Johnson (sophomore) and Mackie Samoskevich (freshman) all returned to the lineup. Pearson felt the vibe was different with so many key players back. "The gang's all back together, and I think that brought a nice synergy and some energy to the locker room," Pearson said. "You can see that this weekend. They enjoyed being together again. It's like the holidays when everybody comes back, the family gets back together — it was enjoy- able just to sit back and watch them this weekend and their interactions." Michigan followed up the sweep over UMass with a return to Big Ten play and two-game series with Penn State Jan. 14-15 at Yost. The Wolverines took both contests (3-2, 4-3), which gave them the season series sweep over the Nittany Lions. The Wolverines look to stay hot to close out January with weekend series com- ing against Minnesota (Jan. 21-22) and Wisconsin (Jan. 28-29), both on the road. FOUR CURRENT PLAYERS, TWO ALUMS HEADING TO BEIJING OLYMPICS With the NHL passing on sending its players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, members of the Maize and Blue have been called upon to represent their countries. Sophomore forwards Matty Beniers and Brendan Brisson were named to the USA Hockey Olympic team Jan. 13. For- mer Wolverines Strauss Mann (goalie) and Steven Kampfer (defenseman) were also named to the squad. The four Michigan men are the first to make the Team USA Olympic roster since 2018 and are the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th Wolverines in program history to receive the honor. Beniers and Bris- son are the first to do it while actively playing for the university. Team Canada is also expected to add some Michigan flavor to its roster. Multi- ple media reports have sophomores Owen Power and Kent Johnson heading to the Olympics, though Canada had not made an official announcement as of Jan. 16. The chance to represent the program and countries on an international stage will be special for the Wolverines. How- ever, it will have a major effect on the rest of the college season. The Michigan Olympians are expected to play through the end of January before heading to Beijing. They will then miss three week- ends of play in February, one of which is a bye. Weekend tilts against Michi- gan State (Feb. 11-12) and Ohio State (Feb. 18-19) will be played without the top line and No. 1 defenseman. Assuming nobody tests positive for COVID-19 overseas, Michigan would be set to be back at full strength for the Feb. 25-26 regular-season finale series at Notre Dame. ❏ Sophomore forward Brendan Brisson notched a trio of goals in the two wins over defending champion UMass Jan. 8-9. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL   MICHIGAN HOCKEY Wolverines Start 2022 With Sweep Over Defending National Champs

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