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Michigan hockey splits series with Minnesota as rivalry games loom

Another weekend series, another split for Michigan

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four-Michigan vs Notre Dame Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines have needed to go on a hot streak for quite some time, and they still haven’t went on one.

With games running out and Michigan’s record less than desirable in regards to making the NCAA Tournament, Michigan really could have helped themselves out with a sweep against Minnesota over the weekend.

Things started out well on Friday night, winning 4-2

And on Saturday night, the Wolverines showed resiliency, but far too many miscues.

The Golden Gophers dominated during the first period of the game, but by the end of the second period a 3-0 Minnnesota lead turned into a 3-3 tie.

While the comeback was admirable, Minnesota added a go-ahead goal in the final period and won the game 4-3.

“We didn’t start on time. We didn’t show up,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “You could just tell that they were gonna — by the comments of their coach that they were gonna compete harder. We knew that.”

Michigan had a pair of 5-on-3 power play opportunities they couldn’t convert into a goal on Saturday and were 0-for-7 overall on power play chances. Michigan even had a 6-on-4 advantage during the last minute and a half of the game.

“I think we’re getting good opportunities,” Michigan forward Slaker said. “I think it’s one of those things where you can say what you want but pucks just aren’t going in for us right now. We’re getting the shots, we’re getting the looks, it’s maybe a few things we can tighten up.”

While Michigan may be getting good opportunities, opportunities alone aren’t good enough, they must cash in.

At this point Michigan’s best chance and likely only chance of making the NCAA Tournament is to win the Big Ten Tournament in March. The remaining games leading up to the tournament will serve as a tune up. Michigan’s roster has a lot of talent, this is a team that went to the Frozen Four just a year ago, and has had impressive wins against Ohio State and Notre Dame in 2019.

It’s fair to say the hockey team has underachieved this season, and it’s also reasonable to think they’ll have a long win streak before the end of the year, but time is running out.

Michigan faces Michigan State next weekend, once in Ann Arbor, and once in Detroit for the “Duel in the D”. Following that series the Wolverines will take on Notre Dame and Ohio State.

Michigan (10-11-6, 6-7-4-2) has seven games remaining in the regular season.