Recap courtesy of MGoBlue.com
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan ice hockey team (19-11-0, 11-5-0-0 Big Ten) heads east to take on Penn State (16-12-4, 8-7-1 Big Ten) in a pivotal weekend for the Wolverines' Big Ten regular-season title hopes. Games are scheduled for Friday (March 6) at 7 p.m. and Saturday (March 8) at 3 p.m. inside Pegula Ice Arena in State College, Pennsylvania.
With four regular-season games remaining for all Big Ten teams, Michigan (33 points) sits three points ahead of Minnesota (30 points), five points ahead of Michigan State (28 points) and eight points ahead of Penn State (25 points) for the top spot in the league standings. The Wolverines will take on a Penn State team on Friday (March 6, 7 p.m.) that has lost five of its last six games, including two losses at Ohio State by matching 5-3 scores in Columbus. The Nittany Lions are a tough matchup at Pegula Ice Arena, with an 11-2-3 record on home ice this season. Michigan split its first weekend series against Penn State this season (L, 2-3; W, 8-1) on Nov. 21-22 at Yost Ice Arena.
• On Nov. 22 at Yost Ice Arena, Michigan turned a close game into a decisive victory with five third-period goals, routing Penn State with an 8-1 win, as JT Compher led the charge with his first two goals of the season. Thirteen different Wolverines had a point in the game, with Compher (2G, A) and Max Shuart (3A) leading the way. Andrew Copp, Zach Hyman and Alex Kile each had a goal and an assist, and Dylan Larkin, Travis Lynch and Zach Werenski added two assists each. Sophomore goaltender Zach Nagelvoort had his strongest performance of the season, notching 41 saves in the win. Michigan set a school record for the largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game.
• Goaltender Steve Racine was fantastic in net this past weekend against the Badgers, notching two wins to go along with a 1.00 GAA and .960 save percentage in two games, including his first career shutout last Friday (W, 3-0). He earned Big Ten First Star of the Week recognition for his efforts. Racine has made the last five starts in net for Michigan, and is 3-2-0 with a 1.82 GAA and .937 save percentage in that span.
• Zach Hyman needs three points to become the first Michigan player to top 50 points in a single season since Carl Hagelin , who had 50 points (19G, 31A) in 2009-10. Hyman notched his team-leading 14th and 15th multiple-point games this weekend in a sweep of Wisconsin, notching four points (G, 3A) overall to increase his season total to 47 (19G, 28A). Hyman leads the Big Ten in scoring and his current scoring pace (1.57 points/game, No. 2 in the nation) exceeds Kevin Porter's (1.47 points/game) during his Hobey Baker Award winning campaign in 2007-08. Hyman entered this season with 35 points (13G, 22A) in his first three seasons combined.
• Hyman is one goal shy of becoming the first Michigan player to reach 20 goals in a single season since Louie Caporusso had 21 goals in 2009-10. He is the first Michigan player to top 40 points in a single season since Hagelin, who had 49 points (18G, 31A) in 2010-11. Hagelin was also the last Michigan player to top 50 points in a season (19G, 31A in 2009-10), and the last player to have 25 assists in a single season before Hyman and Dylan Larkin reached that mark this year.
• Michigan has four of the top five players in Big Ten plus/minus, starting with Zach Hyman, who leads the conference at +24 and is No. 4 in the nation in plus/minus. Dylan Larkin (2nd, +18), Zach Werenski (4th +16) and Justin Selman (5th, +15) are also among the conference leaders.
• Dylan Larkin leads all Big Ten freshmen with 40 points (12G, 28A) on the season. He is the first Michigan freshman to reach 40 points in a single season since Aaron Palushaj had 44 points (10G, 34A) in 2007-08. Larkin is No. 2 in the nation in freshman scoring, No. 2 in the nation with an average of 1.00 assists/game and No. 5 with a scoring average of 1.44 points/game.
• Both Dylan Larkin (2G, 6A) and Zach Hyman (3G, 7A) have points in four straight games. Hyman has had four point streaks of three games or more this season and for Larkin it's his third point streak of three games or more.
• Justin Selman recorded his second career multiple-goal game with two goals on Saturday, and now has 17 points (9G, 8A) in his last 12 games and 18 points overall on the season. Selman had 13 points (5G, 8A) in his first two years combined at Michigan.
• Michigan was a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill against the Badgers last Saturday, marking the eighth time in the last nine games (25-for-26, 96.2%) and fifth game in the row that the Wolverines have not allowed a power-play goal. Michigan's penalty kill is now 83-for-100 (83.0%) overall on the season.
• Freshman defenseman Zach Werenski leads all Big Ten defensemen with eight goals on the year. Werenski leads U-M blueliners with 23 points (8G, 15A) on the season. Werenski is second among Big Ten defensemen in points (0.82 points/game). Werenski is on pace to near Jack Johnson's scoring record (32 points in 2005-06) for freshman defensemen at Michigan.