JT Compher didn't make too much noise in the games leading up to Michigan's tilt with Wisconsin this weekend. He made a sudden appearance at yesterday's post-game presser following an empty net goal to ice Steve Racine's first career shutout.
He recorded his first career hat trick tonight.
"When it wasn’t going for him, we kept him in a good spot," coach Red Berenson told the media. "His attitude was really good, he was a good teammate, he was a good linemate and the whole team is happy for him. It’s good to see the puck go in for him."
"It was a good weekend. I think that we had some good chemistry with me, Andrew (Copp) and Alex Kile," Compher said. "I think we had a lot of chances yesterday and even at the beginning of this game. That was nice to feel good out there and to get a couple in the net felt pretty good as well."
It was an interesting weekend to say the least, marking the first time in a long while where Michigan posted positive possession metrics, but even more importantly, playing sound defense.
The Wolverines allowed two goals on a mere fifty total shots over its two games. Granted it came against a very ineffective Wisconsin offense, but it's certainly a start down the gauntlet over the next month.
Michigan has now gained sole possession of first place in the Big Ten conference, which for obvious reasons spells good news.
And maybe, just maybe, Michigan might have solidified Steve Racine as its starting goaltender.
"I think he has simplified his game, like most goalies when they are playing well," said Berenson. "They make the tough saves look easy."
The arrival of Mike Komisarek as the defensive coach has been paying dividends as well. Michigan has looked much more efficient in its defensive coverage, not blowing assignments, and giving good angles for goalie Steve Racine to make saves.
"He's fresh out of the NHL, he knows the game inside and out," said Zach Werenski of Komisarek. "He's someone you can ask questions to and I think all of the D have really been using him to our advantage."
It's certainly a big relief to see Michigan pull off wholesome wins against a division opponent, but the stars aren't all aligned just yet.