The Wolverine

October 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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62 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2016 HOCKEY PREVIEW Kile was up in the seventh round and thought, I've got to make a name for myself. He skated towards the net, and just as the goaltender poked at the puck, Kile, a left-hander, shifted it behind the goalie's stick and dragged it past the goal line with his right hand. In the same motion, he hopped over the fallen goalie. The predetermined maneuver won the game and made SportsCenter's top plays that night. Kile realized he belonged, finished the year with four goals and two assists in 28 games, and has improved each year. He tallied 13 goals and 13 assists as a sophomore. Last year, he played on the second line with Nieves and Selman and posted a plus-8 rating. Head coach Red Berenson noted that while Kile has often been overshadowed by award- winning teammates, he is capable of leading the team in scoring this season. "He's a game-breaker type player," Berenson said. "One of the few we have now." The 22-year-old is known for a lightning-quick shot that makes him especially effective on one-timers, a big reason he's been a major factor on the power play. Michigan's coaches and outside experts believe Kile will need to reach at least the high 40s in total points in order for the offense to keep humming. His speed, vision and competitiveness could help him get there. Berenson said Kile will "pay the price to score." Colby Cohen, an NCAA hockey analyst for ESPN and American Sports Net, elaborated: "He'll throw the puck on net just to create havoc and then he'll join it. He's not a guy who's going to necessarily play on the perimeter. He'll go to the net and get his nose dirty." Berenson believes Kile will have his best season and can absolutely be the "finisher" on a line and lead the team in goals. "I definitely have high expectations for myself," said Kile, who wouldn't share his specific individual goals. "It's my senior year. This means a lot to me and the rest of the seniors. What we do as a team would mean more to me than individual success. "I want to make the [NCAA] Tournament again and end on the right note with Michigan." This year, more so than in the recent past, the Wolverines will emphasize defense, an area in which Kile has improved significantly over his college career. "Junior hockey is really good, but defense isn't as stressed," Kile said. "When you get here, Red really stresses it. If you can't play defense you don't [get much ice time] or you're not out there at the end of the game when it matters." Kile is stronger and more responsible defensively than he was a few years ago. Whenever Kile does something productive on the ice, there's a great chance he's already visualized it in his mind. He's used the technique since he was 14, closing his eyes the night before a game or even the day of, if he has time to rest. "I picture myself hitting a shot or making a play," he said. "It gets me mentally ready and I definitely think it helps." In 102 games played, Kile has 33 goals and 33 assists with four game-winning markers. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL U-M to the NHL For the first time in nearly 20 years, U-M enters a season without a player on its roster taken in the first two rounds of the NHL Entry Draft. In most seasons, they've had at least two and often three or four. As the chart below shows, a lack of potentially elite pro talent won't preclude U-M from hanging a new banner in Yost. Year Top NCAA Tour. Draftees Result 2015-16 2 Quarters 2014-15 2 N/A 2013-14 3 N/A 2012-13 4 N/A 2011-12 3 Quarters 2010-11 4 Finals 2009-10 4 Quarters 2008-09 4 First Round 2007-08 4 Frozen Four 2006-07 4 Quarters 2005-06 2 Quarters 2004-05 3 Quarters 2003-04 2 Quarters 2002-03 1 Frozen Four 2001-02 2 Frozen Four 2000-01 2 Frozen Four 1999-00 1 Quarters 1998-99 1 Quarters 1997-98 0 Champion — Andrew Kahn

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