The Wolverine

October 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 61 HE'S GOT GOALS Senior Forward Alex Kile Aims To Help Fill Massive Scoring Void Left By Early Departures HOCKEY PREVIEW BY ANDREW KAHN A lex Kile has had a lot of very talented offensive teammates during his Michigan career, play- ers like Kyle Connor, JT Compher and Dylan Larkin. He'll need to rise to their level to help the Wolverines return to the NCAA Tournament. Thankfully, he's been studying their moves. "I'm like a spectator at times, learning from different players," said Kile, who could barely see over the glass when he first started dissecting his older brother 's games. The senior forward noted how Connor used defensemen a s s c re e n s w h e n h e s h o t , slipping the puck through their legs on the way to the net. He watched Compher help out on defense and Larkin protect the puck as he cruised down the ice. "I've always done that — watch a player, see what he does well and try to implement it in my own game," Kile said. No returning Wolverine had more goals (16) or assists (18) than Kile last season. His 34 points ranked fourth on the team, behind the dominant "CCM" line of Connor (71 points), Compher (63) and Tyler Motte (56), and defenseman Zach Werenski (36). All those players are gone, as well as senior forwards Cristoval Nieves and Justin Selman (31 points each) plus junior blue liner Michael Downing (20). In total, U-M lost 120 goals (66 percent of its total) and 308 points (63 percent) from last year 's offense, the nation's best. As the only returner from the top two lines, Kile will be counted on as a major contributor to help fill that void. He's been a gifted scorer since a child in Troy, Mich., often playing goalie in mini sticks or floor hockey so as not to dominate with his speed and skill. His offensive talents were on full display in the top junior programs in the state, and he committed to Michigan as a junior at Avondale High School, citing U-M's prestigious hockey program and academic reputation as main factors. He played for the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League for two seasons, notching 30 goals and 30 assists in his final year before coming to Ann Arbor. He suited up for the Maize and Blue right away, though in the early part of the season he considered himself a "nervous, fourth-line freshman" whose "confidence level wasn't where it should have been." That changed when U-M and Ferris State went to a shootout in mid-December. Kile is the Wolverines' top returning scorer after finishing fifth on the team last year with 34 points (16 goals and 18 assists). PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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