The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 60 of 83

nell in a Midwest Regional semifinal March 23, the Wolverines gathered for their final team meeting. Depart- ing seniors Shawn Hunwick, Luke Glendening and Greg Pateryn said goodbye, thanking their teammates and wishing them the best next sea- son and in future seasons. L ess than 72 hours after Mich- igan's 2012 season came to a disappointing end with a 3-2 overtime loss to Cor- BY MICHAEL SPATH program will put its best foot forward, and when that happens, Michigan is always going to have a chance," said Glendening, confident the Maize and Blue will march on to a 23rd straight NCAA postseason. "You look at a guy like [rising senior] A.J. Treais, who moved from the third line up to the first line and had a career year getting more ice time. "And as guys move up the line Future Forecast now on the clock, found it difficult to look forward to 2013, reminisc- ing instead about the memories they shared with those departing. But reality set in quickly. David Their teammates, even the juniors Wohlberg, another departing senior, signed a professional contract with the American Hockey League's Al- bany Devils and wasn't even present for the meeting. Hunwick kept his fairy tale story alive when he inked a deal with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets to serve as their backup for the final two weeks of the regu- lar season. Pateryn signed with the Montreal Canadiens (though the deal doesn't kick in until next season, al- lowing him to finish school). And just like that, the locker room now belonged to those responsible for keeping Michigan's 22-campaign NCAA Tournament streak alive. No easy task with such key departures, and made even more difficult when junior forward Chris Brown, a top- line power forward, announced he was bypassing his final year of eligi- bility to sign with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes. "You have to say this team and this Head coach Red Berenson will have no choice but to turn to a rookie netminder in 2012-13, but U-M does return eight of its top 10 scorers from this past season. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL marily on a true freshman goalie was 2003 with Al Montoya (he led the Wolverines to the Frozen Four). When Montoya left before his senior season, classmate Noah Ruden and rookie Billy Sauer split starts, but Ruden won out and started in the postseason. Ten seasons later, U-M will have The last time Michigan relied pri- ROOKIE NETMINDER WILL FEEL THE HEAT no choice but to turn to a rookie net- minder again with the departure of Hunwick and the arrival of freshmen Jared Rutledge and Steve Racine (ju- nior Adam Janecyk also returns but is considered a No. 3 goalie). A feel-good story with his rise from third-string walk-on goaltender to starter, Hunwick went 54-24-7 in his career, setting U-M records for goals- against average (2.06) and save per- centage (.928). He also ranks fourth all time in shutouts with 10. "We're not going to have the goal- signed a letter of intent with the Maize and Blue in the fall and has been honing his game as a member of the U.S. National Team Develop- ment Program. In 33 contests this season through April 10, Rutledge was 16-8-3 with a 2.64 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. Rutledge is a capable netminder — The 5-11, 167-pound Rutledge charts, and someone steps in at de- fense and in goal, they're going to Michigan's 22-Year NCAA Tournament Streak Will Be Tested Next Season With Departures At Goalie, Defense And Forward figure it out. That's how this team works. Guys will step up because that's what you do at Michigan. That's the culture Coach [Red] Be- renson has instilled." Michigan would not have recruited him if he wasn't — and should bene- fit from a competent defensive corps that could return five of its top six blue liners, plus two more sopho- mores while welcoming the arrival of a pair of standout freshmen. "It will be a tough transition to come in and play a lot of games and be that guy we rely on every night, so the whole team has to really chip in and be a great defensive team to take some of that pressure off our new goalie," said sophomore Jon Merrill, who will anchor the defense if he returns for his junior season. turns next season — a big if with a long summer ahead — and both Ja- cob Trouba and Connor Carrick join the team in the fall, the Wolverines will pit nine defenders against each other for the right to earn six game- day spots. The unit will blend experi- ence, with a senior and three juniors, and the youthfulness of three sopho- mores and two freshmen. This past season, Michigan ranked If every eligible defenseman re- IS DEEP AND TALENTED DEFENSIVE CORPS keeping that we had this year; it's been as good as it gets," Berenson said. "Rutledge will come in and should be our starter. And after that, it's going to be open." fifth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 2.17 goals per game. U-M hadn't been that stingy since the 2008-09 campaign, when it sur- rendered only 2.05 goals per contest. However, much of the Maize and Blue's success can be attributed to Hunwick; the 1,242 shots (30.3 per game) the Wolverines permitted were almost 300 more than Michigan allowed in 2009 (967), in the same number of games (41). There is room to improve, and with Rutledge or Racine in net, Michigan has to become more effective limiting the quantity and quality of the oppo- nents' scoring chances. "We have some great defensemen coming back, and most of our lineup will be made up of guys with experi- ence, a year older, stronger, more ma- ture, and the older guys, especially, MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 61

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - May 2012