The Wolverine

December 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 52 of 67

DECEMBER 2022 THE WOLVERINE 53   MICHIGAN HOCKEY "On top of it all, he's physical, he's strong in the faceoff circle, he can score from mid-range consistently with his low-kick wrister, he's got an ability to protect the puck and shade in and out of coverage, he's got a dangerous curl- and-drag wrister, and he's comfortable in traffic. When he's on, he can com- pletely take over a game." He's getting better and better, too, Wheeler pointed out. "Early on in his college career, sur- rounded by talent with the Wolverines, he has also shed some of the selfishness and force-it plays that could frustrate me and others at lower levels (he's mak- ing better decisions on shot selection, overhanding less, utilizing his linemates better, etc.)," the analyst wrote. "He's quite likely going to play in the NHL next year and be successful on raw abil- ity from the jump. Once he refines his game some more and adds more muscle as he ages, watch out." Fantilli kept his strong season go- ing with 8 total points in a three-game stretch — a win over Penn State (4-3), a victory over Notre Dame (5-1) and an overtime loss to the Fighting Irish (3-2). He delivered the overtime winner in the triumph over the Nittany Lions, adding an assist on the night. The star is loving his time in Ann Ar- bor so far — playing with his brother, fellow freshman Luca Fantilli, a defen- seman, being a highlight — and can't wait for what's ahead. "You can sense winning is a culture thing here and not at the expense of de- velopment," Fantilli wrote in an NHL Draft diary on in late October. "The way everything is structured, the way we approach every day is attacking it, getting better, preparing ourselves for the upcoming weekend. "We expect to win every game, so that's kind of the culture we're build- ing here. I couldn't be happier to be a part of it. We obviously are very hun- gry to prove something this year, and I think our upperclassmen will tell you the same thing in terms of how things ended for them last year." Fantilli is hoping to be a part of the first Michigan team to make two straight Frozen Four appearances since the Wol- verines accomplished the feat in three consecutive years from 2001-03. U-M ASCENDS TO NO. 1 RANKING, DROPS BACK TO NO. 3 Following the nonconference portion of the schedule in which Michigan got off to a 7-1 start, including wins over No. 9 Boston University and No. 17 Western Michigan (twice), the Wolver- ines ascended to No. 1 in the USCHO. com rankings. The 7-1 start, led by interim head coach Brandon Naurato, marked the best beginning to a Michigan head coach's career through eight games, topping Dan Farrell, who started 5-2-1 in 1973-74. During that stretch, the Wolverines led the nation with 42 goals, averaging 5.25 per contest. Michigan has struggled when ranked No. 1 in recent years, and that trend continued this time around. The Wol- verines went 2-2 in the four games fol- lowing their stint atop the poll. U-M has since dropped to 9-3 overall and No. 3 in the rankings, with Denver (9-3) and Minnesota (8-4) now ahead of them in the national poll. BRANDON NAURATO NAVIGATING UNIQUE SITUATION ON RECRUITING TRAIL Interim head coach Brandon Nau- rato took over the Wolverines' program Aug. 8, less than two months before the start of the 2022-23 season. That came on the heels of former head man Mel Pearson's dismissal following an inves- tigation into his program. Michigan has long been one of the na- tion's best recruiting powers, and that hasn't changed under Naurato, despite his interim tag. The Maize and Blue hold seven commitments in their 2023 class, recently picking up a pair of pledges in Nick Moldenhauer, the Toronto Maple Leafs' third-round 2022 NHL Draft pick and a standout for the USHL's Chicago Steele, and Tanner Rowe, a forward from the USHL's Omaha Lancers. At the time of his Nov. 2 pledge, Moldenhauer was leading the USHL in scoring with 17 points in 11 games. Being the interim coach, though, is inherently a disadvantage for Naurato, even if he has Michigan rolling on the ice. There is uncertainty that comes with that title. "For sure it's harder, 100 percent," Naurato told The Michigan Daily Nov. 2 of recruiting with an interim tag. "I feel like we might not have gotten certain players … like every single family brings it up. … It is what it is, but it's definitely more difficult." However, he's confident in himself, his staff and that they'll be leading the Wolverines long term. "If I was talking to a recruit right now — and I know this sounds bad — but I'd look at him and say, 'Do you think our staff's going to be around?' We're No. 1 in the country and 7-1," Naurato said. ❏ 2022-23 MICHIGAN HOCKEY SCHEDULE Date Opponent Time/Result Oct. 1 Windsor (Exhib.) W, 8-2 Oct. 7 Lindenwood W, 7-4 Oct. 8 Lindenwood W, 3-1 Oct. 14 Boston University W, 9-2 Oct. 16 Boston University L, 3-2 Oct. 21 at Lake Superior St. W, 5-2 Oct. 22 at Lake Superior St. W, 5-1 Oct. 28 Western Michigan W, 5-4 Oct. 29 at W. Michigan W, 6-5 (OT) Nov. 4 at Penn State L, 3-0 Nov. 5 at Penn State W, 4-3 (OT) Nov. 11 at Notre Dame W, 5-1 Nov. 12 at Notre Dame L, 3-2 (OT) Nov. 17 Minnesota 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18 Minnesota 6:00 p.m. Nov. 25 Harvard 7 p.m. Nov. 26 Harvard 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Wisconsin 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at Wisconsin 4 p.m. Dec. 9 at Michigan State 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 Michigan State 6:30 p.m. Jan. 6 U.S. NTDP U-18 7 p.m. Jan. 13 Ohio State 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 Ohio State 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at Minnesota 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at Minnesota 7 p.m. Jan. 27 Penn State 7 p.m. Jan. 28 Penn State 7 p.m. Feb. 3 Wisconsin 7 p.m. Feb. 4 Wisconsin 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at Michigan State 7 p.m. Feb. 11 Michigan State 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at Ohio State TBA Feb. 18 Ohio State 4 p.m. Feb. 24 Notre Dame 7 p.m. Feb. 25 Notre Dame 8 p.m. Mar. 3-18 Big Ten Tournament TBA Mar. 23-26 NCAA Regional TBA April 6-8 NCAA Frozen Four^ TBA ^ Tampa, Fla.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - December 2022