The Michigan Wolverines (21-7-1, 12-6 Big Ten) took both games against the Wisconsin Badgers over the weekend by scores of 5-1 and 6-2. Despite missing top-five NHL draft picks Owen Power and Kent Johnson — currently at Team Canada’s Olympic training camp in Switzerland — the Wolverines were able to secure six points and sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
Michigan finishes January with a 7-1 record, the best single month in program history since March 2010.
Michigan takes a 6-2 win and the weekend sweep!#GoBlue〽️ pic.twitter.com/6WBqoziQOw— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) January 30, 2022
Lucky Number 11
Last weekend was WWE’s annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view, a chance to showcase their depth of talent and make household names out of rising stars within the company. The Wolverines took a similar approach in Madison without Power and Johnson.
Eleven (!!!) different Wolverines scored goals against Wisconsin. Matty Beniers, Mackie Samoskevich, Luke Morgan, Thomas Bordeleau, Dylan Duke, Ethan Edwards, Philippe LaPointe, Jimmy Lambert, Brendan Brisson, Luke Hughes and Nick Blankenburg all found the back of the net for the No. 4 ranked scoring offense in the country.
Michigan chased Wisconsin goaltender Jared Moe (.916 save percentage) on Friday after allowing four goals, and was replaced by Cameron Rowe. Rowe didn’t fair any better by allowing one goal on Friday and six more on Saturday.
Pucks bounced off Wisconsin defenders and crossbars alike to find their way to the back of the net, as the Wolverines scored in all six periods. The weekend’s 11-goal performance tied Michigan’s highest conference single series output of the season (November — Penn State).
When your fingers hurt from typing out every player that scored a goal over the weekend, the series probably went well. Couple prolific scoring with a net-minder like Erik Portillo and you know it went well.
Speaking of Portillo, the Michigan goaltender stopped 26-of-27 shots on Friday and 38-of-40 on Saturday, continuing his streak of dominant play. Portillo has only surrendered more than two goals once in a single game in January, and that came in a 44-save, 4-3 victory over Penn State on Jan. 15.
The Swedish sophomore leads the country with 755 saves (47 clear of the next closest player) and is 12th in save percentage (.925). With key players missing for the Olympics, Portillo will be expected to shoulder an even greater burden than normal against Michigan State and Ohio State.
Michigan will be without its top four scorers for the next four games due to the Beijing Olympics. The shorthanded Wolverines return to action with a home series against Michigan State on Feb. 11-12.