Michigan Hockey Review (3/19/15)

Michigan assistant hockey coach Billy Powers joined Sam Webb on Sports talk 1050 WTKA today to review of the Wolverines' split with Michigan State and preview of the B1G Tourney.


Recap courtesy of MGoBlue.com

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan ice hockey team (20-14-0, 12-8-0-0 Big Ten) heads into postseason play as the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament for the second consecutive year. The Wolverines will take on No. 6 seed Wisconsin (4-25-5, 2-15-3-2 Big Ten) on Thursday (March 19) at 8 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena. The Wolverines swept the regular-season series against the Badgers (4-0-0), and are unbeaten in their last six games (5-0-1) against Wisconsin, the longest unbeaten streak in the series since a 10-game run (9-0-1) from Nov. 25, 1994-Nov. 29, 2002. Michigan owns a 68-54-8 record in the all-time series against the Badgers.

• Michigan has played Wisconsin three times at Joe Louis Arena, with a 2-1 record in those contests. The two teams met at JLA most recently in the 1996 College Hockey Showcase, with Michigan earning an 8-4 win on Nov. 30, 1996. On March 27, 1993, the Wolverines memorably earned a 4-3 overtime victory against the Badgers at JLA in the NCAA West Regional to advance to the Frozen Four. Michigan also met Wisconsin at the Joe in the first game of the 1987 Great Lakes Invitational, falling 6-0 to the Badgers.

• Michigan and Wisconsin have met eight times in postseason play, three times in the WCHA Tournament when both were members of the WCHA (1969-1981) and five times in the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines are 3-5 in those contests, with an 0-3 record in the WCHA postseason and a 3-2 record in the NCAA Tournament.

WCHA Tournament
March 13, 1970 - L, 1-2
March 16, 1977 - L, 0-4
March 17, 1977 - L, 4-5

NCAA Tournament
March 26, 1977 (National Championship) - L-OT, 5-6
April 2, 1992 (Frozen Four) - L, 2-4
March 27, 1993 (NCAA Regional) - W-OT, 4-3
March 25, 1995 (NCAA Regional) - W, 4-3
March 25, 2005 (NCAA Regional) - W, 4-1

• Michigan is looking to earn its fifth victory of the season against Wisconsin. If the Wolverines were to win, it would mark the first time that Michigan has beaten one opponent five times in a single season since the Wolverines beat Michigan State five times during the 2008-09 season.

• On Feb. 28, JT Compher notched his first career hat trick, Justin Selman added two goals, and Steve Racine made 26 saves to lead Michigan to a 5-2 win over Wisconsin at Yost Ice Arena. With the game tied 2-2 heading in the third period, Michigan's stellar special teams helped the Wolverines take the lead for good. After killing off an early penalty to finish the night a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, Michigan went on the power play when Jedd Soleway was called for interference at 6:37. Compher notched his second goal of the game, taking a stretch pass from Nolan De Jong for a 2-on-1. Compher kept the puck and beat Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel (29 saves) over the shoulder at 8:01 to put Michigan ahead 3-2. The Wolverines finished the night 2-for-4 on the man advantage. A little more than four minutes later, Zach Hyman (2A) won a puck battle in the neutral zone and fed Dylan Larkin as he gained the zone on the right wing for a 2-on-1. Larkin found Selman for a tap-in goal at 12:18 to give the Wolverines a two-goal lead. Compher's empty-net goal at 18:41 sealed the win for Michigan.

• Michigan has several ties to Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves. Mike's brother Murray Eaves played two seasons at U-M (1978-80) before embarking on his pro career. Mike was raised in nearby Windsor, Ontario.

• Since defeating Michigan State, 7-4, on Dec. 28, 1979, in the first collegiate game at Joe Louis Arena, the Wolverines are 101-48-5 (.672) all-time at "The Joe." Michigan is 2-1 this season at Joe Louis Arena, including wins against Michigan Tech and Michigan State in the Great Lakes Invitational on Dec. 28-29, and a loss to MSU on Jan. 30.

• Zach Hyman needs one point 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 leads the Big Ten in scoring with 49 points (19G, 30A). Hyman is one goal shy of becoming the first U-M player to reach 20 goals since Louie Caporusso had 21 goals in 2009-10. Hagelin was also the last player to have 30 assists in a single season before Hyman reached that mark this year.

• Michigan's power play and penalty kill units have both had impressive runs of late. Michigan's power play is 8-for-25 (32.0%) over the last seven games, while the team's penalty kill success has been impressive over the last 13 games. In that span, the Wolverines have allowed just four power play goals, with a 31-for-35 mark (88.6%) on the penalty kill.

• U-M has four of the top 10 players in Big Ten plus/minus, starting with Zach Hyman, who is second in the Big Ten at +21. Dylan Larkin (4th, +16), Justin Selman (5th, +15) and Brennan Serville (10th, +12) are also among the Big Ten leaders.

• Dylan Larkin leads all Big Ten freshmen with 43 points (14G, 29A) on the season. He is the first U-M freshman to reach 40 points in a single season since Aaron Palushaj had 44 points (10G, 34A) in 2007-08. Larkin is No. 3 in the nation in freshman scoring, No. 5 in the nation with an average of 0.91 assists per game, and No. 6 with an average of 1.34 points per game. He leads all freshmen with an average of 4.41 shots per game.

• Freshman defenseman Zach Werenski leads all Big Ten defensemen with nine goals and is tops among U-M blueliners with 24 points (9G, 15A) this season. Werenski is second among Big Ten defensemen in points per game (0.74). He has the most points and goals by a freshman defenseman at Michigan since Jacob Trouba (13G, 16A) in 2012-13. Werenski leads the team with 55 blocked shots this season.

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