It was a special occasion at Yost tonight, with Red Berenson earning his 800th win as the head man behind an NCAA bench. He is one special coach, who even after a milestone such as great as this, would rather talk about how much his team needs work on defense.
The Wolverines and Gophers played a weekend worth of hockey that will hopefully bring a lot of fans onto the Big 10 hockey bandwagon, and the two teams certainly put on a show. The arena was completely full both nights, with a packed press box and a ton of interest.
- Steve Racine had no decision on the evening since he was on the bench for Michigan's game-winning goal. Zach Nagelvoort came in and looked pretty average. He was tested a lot in close range and also was pretty good with tracking the puck both out front and behind the goal line too. Nagelvoort looks like he's been playing just a tad deeper in his crease than I remember him being, but nonetheless he got the win.
- The Michigan powerplay, for as abysmal as it has been at times this year, looked outstanding. I'm not talking exclusively about the goals, but the puck movement has been improving steadily and the team was able to finally get set up and keep some sustained pressure going.
- Zach Hyman moved up to fifth in NCAA scoring with one goal and one assist. He's finally morphing into the player that Red Berenson envisioned he'd be in addition to the power forward that the Florida Panthers saw when they took him at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
- Red Berenson managed to crack a smile while telling a story to the press about his first game behind the Michigan bench on October 12, 1984. "I can remember my first game at Michigan was at Miami and we won the game, and our team was so surprised that we won that they were celebrating like we'd won the Stanley Cup, and I knew we were in trouble," he said. He has come quite a long way becoming the fourth coach of all time to win 800 games as an NCAA bench boss.
- Dylan Larkin might be the proof that the 2014 NHL draft could rival the 2003 NHL draft in terms of talent depth. He's evolved into one heck of a goal scorer on Hyman's wing, and that's something that the Red Wings will appreciate going forward. Larkin potted two goals in the second game of the weekend, all on a possibly tender wrist.
- I'm still pretty unhappy with Michigan's overall possession numbers this year (see below), and the team relied on one line (with four of its eight leading scorers at the WJC) and goaltending to win the GLI. Michigan also had some pretty good shooting % numbers this weekend, and it happens to be loaded with talent up front which can keep this percentage well above normal levels. It's not cause for immediate alarm, but we could be looking at no offense and bad defense at inopportune times later this season.
- Michigan's defense had another bad night defending the rush and still got lost quite often in its own zone. They're still a work in progress and probably will be until at least the end of the year.
- While the possession numbers, as previously mentioned, haven't been stellar, the Wolverines did a good job of sustaining pressure at even strength in the opposing zone. If they can play entire shifts in the opposing zone at least once a game at 5 on 5, they'll be golden.
- Cutler Martin really could have had a better game, especially after last night. His game culminated in a suicide pass with about six minutes remaining in the third period up the middle of the ice which luckily didn't connect.
- Michigan got an important six points this weekend to stay atop the Big 10 standings. They don't have another game at Yost until the end of February, so mission accomplished.
By the numbers:
|Period||CF - Michigan||CF - Minny||FF - Mich||FF- Minny|
Zach Hyman is now one point behind Jack Eichel (BU) for third place in NCAA Hockey Scoring. Currently at 5th place, tied with Cody Wydo (RM)— David Malinowski (@dmmm14) January 10, 2015