The Wolverine

January 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 138 of 171

A first-round draft pick in 2015, Michigan forward Kyle Connor began the season as the frontrunner to take home the Big Ten's top fresh- man award. Not surprisingly, he is getting competition from Penn State class- mates Chase Berger and Andrew Sturtz. H o w e v e r, C o n n o r probably didn't ex- pect that his toughest competitor might be a teammate. Rookie third-line center Cooper Ma- rody has been one of the biggest surprises of the season, rank- ing third in the Big Ten among freshmen and third among Wol- verines with 13 points in 13 games through Dec. 8. Marody was second on the team in goals with seven, in- cluding three on the power play. The 6-0, 178-pound Marody was a sixth-round pick in June after com- piling 22 goals and 36 assists in 52 games in the United States Hockey League in 2014-15. Neither he, nor freshman forward Brendan Warren — a third-rounder that is currently seventh on the team with 10 points — could match Con- nor for hype, but all three have been critical to U-M's early success. "With Connor, the kid has been really good, but he was more of a known quantity because you ex- pected him to come in and score at a high level," Michigan radio ana- lyst Bill Trainor said. "The other two kids have been pleas- ant surprises. "We expected them to come in and com- pete for ice time, and play a role, but no one likely predicted they would contribute this much offense and be r e a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e players in their own zone." Connor led Michi- gan in points after 13 games with 16 total, including six goals. He also had a plus/ minus of plus-8. Connor, Marody and Warren have combined for 17 of U-M's 57 goals (29.8 percent), 21 of 93 assists (22.6 percent) and 38 of 150 total points (25.3 percent). "They are talented players," as- sistant coach Brian Wiseman said. "They have some offensive instincts and skill level and intelligence, and we're seeing that. But what I ap- preciate the most is they're fitting in extremely well, working extremely hard, and they're doing a heck of a job. "We have a long way to go in the   MICHIGAN HOCKEY U-M's Freshmen Continue To Lead Wolverines Forward Kyle Connor has led the way for a productive freshman class, tallying a team-best 16 points (six goals and 10 assists) through 13 games. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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