The Wolverine

March 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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76 THE WOLVERINE ❱ MARCH 2024 BY CLAYTON SAYFIE M ichigan hockey is currently on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament picture, and time is run- ning short to change that reality. U-M has made the tournament each of the last three seasons, including making back-to- back Frozen Four appearances. The Wolverines did not appear in United States College Hockey Online's projected tournament field on Feb. 14, before they split a weekend series at Penn State, win- ning 5-3 Feb. 15 and falling 4-2 the fol- lowing evening. They didn't do enough in those two games to change their outlook. Coming out of the weekend, the Maize and Blue ranked No. 16 in the PairWise rankings, which compares every team by three criteria: record against common opponents, head-to-head competition and the RPI. There are only two regular-season se- ries remaining before the Big Ten Tour- nament quarterfinals, a home set with Notre Dame Feb. 23-24 and a pair of tilts at Minnesota March 1-2. It took Michigan until early February to notch its first Big Ten series sweep, beating Ohio State twice in Columbus Feb. 2-3. But the Maize and Blue failed to carry over momentum the following weekend, falling 5-1 to No. 9 Michigan State at Yost and 3-2 to the same Spartans in the annual "Duel In The D" at Little Caesars Arena in De- troit. At 15-12-3, Michigan must start win- ning series like it hasn't so far this season to get back on the right side of the bubble, with No. 13 or above in the PairWise cur- rently being viewed as favorable territory for an at-large bid to the NCAAs. Losses in regulation will hurt. Otherwise, its hope will come down to winning the Big Ten Tournament — a feat U-M accomplished last season — to capture an automatic bid. "I mean, just from looking at the Pair- wise, as of today if we don't win the Big Ten Tournament then we can't make the NCAA Tournament," head coach Bran- don Naurato said Feb. 12, according to The Michigan Daily. There are six automatic bids, including one that goes to the Big Ten Tournament champ, while the other 10 spots are up for grabs. "Whatever we do in the future, we'll have to earn," Naurato added. MICHIGAN FALLS IN 'DUEL IN THE D' Graduate goaltender Jake Barczewski, a transfer from Canisius, ranks 32nd in the country and fifth in the Big Ten with a .910 save percentage. He stopped 92.3 percent of Michigan State's shots in a 3-2 loss Feb. 10 in Detroit, a solid performance, but he was outdueled by Spartan freshman net- minder Trey Augustine, a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award handed out to the nation's top goalie. Augustine saved 94.7 percent of U- M's shots — including some timely stops — one day after allowing just 1 goal in a 5-1 win over the Wolverines in East Lansing. The Wolverines had a barrage of chances late in the game, but Augustine stuffed them. As a result, Michigan made the short trip from Detroit to Ann Arbor without the Iron D Trophy for the first time since 2016. The Wolverines had won seven straight "Duel In The D" titles, but the ninth- ranked Spartans were too much. The weekend sweep was costly, too, with the Wolverines falling from No. 11 to No. 15 in the PairWise rankings. Sophomore forward Gavin Brindley led the Wolverines with 2 points coming on a goal and an assist. At 1.34 points per game, he's one of six U-M players who rank in the top 25 in the country in points, check- ing in 11th overall and second on the team behind classmate Rutger McGroarty (1.52). In fact, the Maize and Blue have the top five point scorers in the entire Big Ten. From a team standpoint, Michigan paces the Big Ten and slots second nationally behind Denver with 4.37 goals per game. That just wasn't enough to win the bat- tle against Augustine and the Spartans, even in the late moments when they were searching for an equalizer. ❑ ❱  MICHIGAN HOCKEY A Lot Riding On Michigan's Stretch Run U-M sophomore Rutger McGroarty ranks sixth nationally with 1.52 points per game (12 goals, 26 assists in 25 games) through Feb. 19, but the Wolverines are only 15-12-3 and in danger of not making the cut for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY Date Opponent Time (ET) Sept. 30 Simon Fraser (Exhib.) W, 8-1 Oct. 7 Providence L, 4-2 Oct. 8 Providence W, 5-4 Oct. 13 at UMass W, 7-2 Oct. 14 at UMass L, 6-3 Oct. 20 Ohio State W, 7-1 Oct. 21 Ohio State T, 2-2 (SO, L) Oct. 27 Lindenwood W, 9-1 Oct. 28 Lindenwood W, 10-1 Nov. 3 at Wisconsin L, 5-4 Nov. 4 at Wisconsin L, 2-1 Nov. 10 Minnesota L, 4-3 Nov. 11 Minnesota T, 2-2 (SO, W) Nov. 17 Penn State W, 6-4 Nov. 18 Penn State L, 5-3 Nov. 24 at St. Cloud State W, 2-0 Nov. 25 at St. Cloud State T, 3-3 Dec. 1 at Notre Dame L, 6-1 Dec. 2 at Notre Dame W, 2-1 Jan. 6 at U.S. NTDP U-18 Team* W, 5-1 Jan. 12 Stonehill W, 12-4 Jan. 13 Stonehill W, 7-1 Jan. 19 at Michigan State W, 7-1 Jan. 20 Michigan State L, 7-5 Jan. 26 Wisconsin W, 5-1 Jan. 27 Wisconsin L, 6-5 (OT) Feb. 2 at Ohio State W, 4-2 Feb. 3 at Ohio State W, 4-1 Feb. 9 Michigan State L, 5-1 Feb. 10 vs. Michigan State^ L, 3-2 Feb. 16 at Penn State W, 5-3 Feb. 17 at Penn State L, 4-2 Feb. 23 Notre Dame 8 p.m. Feb. 24 Notre Dame 6:30 p.m. Mar. 1 at Minnesota 7:30 p.m. Mar. 2 at Minnesota 7:30 p.m. Mar. 8-10 Big Ten Quarterfinals TBA Mar. 16 Big Ten Semifinal TBA Mar. 23 Big Ten Championship TBA * Exhibition ^ Duel in the D, Little Caesars Arena in Detroit 2023-24 MICHIGAN HOCKEY SCHEDULE

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