Last weekend in the Michigan hockey team’s critical series with No. 17 Wisconsin, there was no shortage of punches thrown from either team. With rivalry games against in-state foe Michigan State on the horizon for the Wolverines, physicality and aggression are likely to play a role once again.
And though not all penalties are avoidable, Michigan coach Mel Pearson thinks his team has been taking too many of what he describes as “selfish penalties.” Given this, discipline has been a major talking point of practice this week.
COLUMBUS — Ohio State has notoriously won games this season by gaining a first-goal advantage. The Buckeyes had done so in 11 of their 16 wins prior to Saturday night, emblematic of a team that can hold onto early-game momentum.
Given this, when freshman forward Jack Becker cracked Ohio State’s net first, the Michigan hockey team — who hadn’t seen a single goal Friday night — was provided with a glimpse of hope.
But Saturday, this stat wouldn’t matter. The Buckeyes didn’t score first. However, with another lights-out performance on their home turf, they didn’t need to.
Though both teams have gone through major transformations since their last series, it is more than likely that this weekend will present a fiercely competitive atmosphere similar to the meeting at Pegula Ice Arena in October.
After taking home a bronze medal with the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2018 World Junior Championships, freshman forward Josh Norris, freshman defenseman Quinn Hughes and sophomore forward Will Lockwood rejoined their Michigan teammates this weekend.
But only two of the three were able to compete in Team USA’s final four games of the highly-anticipated tournament, held in Buffalo, NY from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.