The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 67   MICHIGAN HOCKEY Hockey Rewind: Nov. 16-Dec. 28 Record From Nov. 16-Dec. 28: 2-4, 1-3 Big Ten Season Record: 7-8-1 overall, 1-3 Big Ten Best Win — 4-1 over Wisconsin: It might've been too early in the season to deem the matchup a must-win game, but it was a big game for a reeling Michigan team that had gotten blasted for a combined 18 goals in its first three conference contests. The Wolverines had been preaching defense all year, but were unable to stop either Penn State in a two-game series Dec. 1-2 or Wisconsin in a 7-4 loss Dec. 9. U-M, though, recovered nicely to end its losing streak, making two early first-period goals count in a 4-1 win. The Wolverines gave up too many power plays, but the pen- alty-kill unit and freshman goaltender Hayden Lavigne made sure that didn't matter. Quote: "I think the core of the team really needs to have a message that reso- nates with every player. We're leaving soon for a little break and then coming back for the [Great Lakes Invitational], so I think as we leave every player needs to search themselves a little bit and know their role, what they have to do for the second half of the season, coming back and being ready to play, being a true Michigan hockey team and being winners." — Junior forward Cutler Martin after Michigan's 4-1 win over Wisconsin Dec. 10 MVP — Junior forward Cutler Martin: Martin has been on a tear recently, scor- ing goals in each of the last three games. The converted defenseman possesses a powerful and accurate shot and has earned steady playing time since making the position switch, bringing a defenseman-like attitude to the forward corps. Given Berenson has said previously he'd like his forwards to be better two-way players, that may just be what Michigan needs more of. Freshman Impact — Forward Jake Slaker: Slaker chose Michigan after previously being committed to St. Lawrence, and it looks like the Wolverines might have done well for themselves with the late pickup. Though Slaker (and his linemates Will Lock- wood and Alex Kile) went through a five-game slump, it was only a matter of time be- fore he broke through, and he did just that in Michigan's win over Wisconsin, tallying two assists — including a pretty pass to Kile for a power-play goal in the first period. Player To Watch — Junior forward Tony Calderone: Calderone earned a reputation as a goal scorer during his junior career, but hadn't experienced much success in his first two years on campus, tallying just 14 goals combined. While the junior tallied just two goals in the first eight games of the season, he's heated up since, scoring six over the past eight games to give him the team lead. With last year's departures, Berenson and Michigan were counting on Calde- rone this year to develop into an offensive weapon, and his recent hot streak is evidence that he may just be on his way to doing so. Must-See Series — Jan. 13-14 at No. 11 Minnesota: The Golden Gophers (9-5-1) have finished as the regular-season Big Ten champion in the three years since the conference was formed, and it appears they'll have a good chance at mak- ing it four straight this season. Minnesota, which was named the Big Ten favorite in a preseason poll, also led the league in players on the Preseason Watch List with four. They are off to a 3-1 start in conference play and will be a huge test for Michigan. Things didn't go so well the first time the Wolverines faced a Big Ten contender on the road this year — Michigan was swept by No. 3 Penn State, losing by a com- bined score of 13-2. — Orion Sang to come as we win games like that where we just work hard and we keep finding out that we get rewarded for working that hard. It's going to con- tinue to improve in our consistency." To realize — especially now — that one's team isn't good enough is a humbling thought. It takes humility for an athlete to admit their team's identity is in need of changing. But that shouldn't be an excuse. The regular season is nearly halfway over. Time is running out; there are fewer and fewer chances to right the ship before it sinks altogether. A few games should have been enough for this team to learn what it is. The win over Wisconsin is yet an- other chance for Michigan to turn the page from last year and take a step forward. When the Wolverines beat Boston University, it at least allowed for the possibility that losses to the likes of Vermont and Dartmouth were abnormal. Michigan, though, has just a 2-5 record since then, which begs the question: Are performances like that and the win over Wisconsin the true outliers? Or are the wins more of a facade than the losses? There will be more answers as the Wolverines continue with conference play (a road trip to preseason Big Ten favorite Minnesota looms Jan. 13-14). But given how Michigan has played this year, it would not be remiss to wonder whether it'll ever make a turn in the right direction. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES • Michigan's top line of freshman for- wards Will Lockwood and Jake Slaker and senior forward Alex Kile had failed to tally a point over a five-game stretch that began in a 4-2 loss to Boston Nov. 12, but all three broke out of the slump in Michi- gan's series against Wisconsin. Lockwood and Slaker each tallied two assists on the weekend, while Kile, who Berenson described as "snakebit," scored his first goal since Michigan's 3-2 loss to Dartmouth Oct. 29. • Junior defenseman Sam Piazza scored two goals in Michigan's 7-4 loss to Wisconsin Dec. 9. Previously, the last game he had scored in was in Michi- gan's 2-1 win at Ferris State Oct. 15. • Freshman defenseman Luke Martin scored the first goal of his career Dec. 9. • Freshman goaltender Hayden Lavi- gne's save percentage of .935 is tied for fifth-best in the nation. He has a 2.29 goals-against average. ❏ Junior forward Cutler Martin has tallied four goals through 16 games, with three of them coming in the last three contests. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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