BY CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
Published February 20, 2011
Michigan junior defenseman Greg Pateryn is not primarily known for his scoring ability — he came into this weekend's series with just 10 points. The Wolverines ask Pateryn to play a strong defense, and anything he nets is a bonus.
More like this
But in Friday’s 6-3 win over Western Michigan, Pateryn had the scoring touch from the get-go. He scored his third goal of the season and added three helpers to get the Wolverine offense off to a quick start — Pateryn couldn't remember ever accounting for four points in a game before.
“I don’t think ever in my hockey career,” Pateryn said. “I think the last time was maybe high school when we beat a team like 9-0 or something. Guys were putting the puck in. (Senior forward Scooter Vaughan has) been scoring on every chance he’s had basically. (Sophomore forward Kevin Lynch) put one in there for me. (Sophomore forward Chris Brown), good deflection, and (senior forward Matt Rust) made an unbelievable pass. You got to give everyone else credit, not just myself.”
Pateryn notched just six total points last season — one goal and five assists — but his increased offensive production this year is a good sign for a Michigan team that looks to a different guy to play hero each night. Pateryn’s offensive contributions on Friday helped propel the Wolverines from the first goal onward.
Just seconds after Vaughan finished serving his penalty for elbowing, Pateryn dished the puck to Vaughan out of the box, who skated down the right side and placed the puck in the back of the net.
“(Pateryn’s) keeping the game simple,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We’re asking our (defensemen) to move the puck, quick up the puck. He made that play to Scooter coming out of the penalty box. That was a little bit of luck there, the timing and everything, (but) that was a nice play.”
POWERPLAY PERKS UP: After 22 consecutive unsuccessful power play attempts, on Saturday, the Wolverines showed that all they needed was one more chance.
On Friday, Western Michigan didn’t take any penalties, so the Michigan man-advantage didn’t have an opportunity to see the ice.
But on Saturday, when Western Michigan defenseman Dennis Brown went to the box for tripping with 10 minutes remaining in the first period, the Wolverines didn’t miss their 23rd opportunity.
Junior defenseman Brandon Burlon ripped a shot from the point that sophomore forward Kevin Lynch deflected before the puck went wide right of the net, hitting the backboards. Junior forward David Wohlberg picked the puck up on the rebound and netted his 12th goal of the season.
“It was a great finish, little bit of luck, nice to see the power play capitalize,” Berenson said. “It was nice to get a power play, and good for our team.”
Wohlberg’s power-play tally moves the junior into second on the team in goals this season — but the Wolverine who leads the team in goals, senior forward Carl Hagelin, was also involved in getting the man-advantage unit going on Saturday.
Hagelin’s game-winner with just three seconds remaining in overtime came on the power play, as Michigan went 2-for-4 with seven shots on net with that unit on Saturday.
NOTES: With this weekend’s sweep of the Broncos, Michigan is all but guaranteed a top-two finish in the CCHA. It needs only one more point to do so. ... Conference-leading Notre Dame is currently one point ahead of Michigan, as both teams head into separate two-game series next weekend. The Fighting Irish face Western Michigan, while the Wolverines head up to Marquette, Mich. to play Northern Michigan.