This past fall, Pearson’s reputation for high-level recruiting started to come to fruition. He brought in two first-round NHL draft picks in Cam York and Johnny Beecher, along with Nick Granowicz, who scored seven goals in year one. The other members of the class — Eric Ciccolini and Keaton Pehrson — should be key contributors in the coming years.
Now, the Wolverines’ incoming class for the 2020-21 season is one of the best in college hockey.
Many scouts see Lockwood as an in-between player — the kind of player that may well find success and stick in the NHL, but could also top out at the AHL level. Lockwood’s skating and tenacity are highlights of his skillset and have NHL-caliber upside, but his tendency for injury and his good-but-not-elite 85 total points in 115 college games are marks against him — to varying degrees — at this point of his development.
Sophomore forward Jimmy Lambert won the faceoff and sent the puck to senior forward Nick Pastujov. Pastujov’s quick shot beat goaltender John Lethemon over his shoulder from a sharp angle to score Michigan’s third and final goal in what became a 3-0 victory over the Spartans in the first game of the Big Ten Tournament.
But in leaving home to chase his dreams in hockey, Johnny had to reconcile achieving his dreams in hockey, the sport they both grew up playing, with the fact that his brother couldn’t do the same.
“It was heartbreaking,” Johnny said. “You could see how sad it was for him to have to leave the sport behind and not play anymore, but at the end of the day, he’s never complained or said why me.
“… There’s times where I look back and I really think he deserves it with all the work he’s put in. He’s the hardest working kid I know. But at the end of the day, I’ve worked extremely hard as well. I know for a fact he would never want me to feel (guilty).”
Michigan’s opponent was still unknown until the matchup between Wisconsin and Ohio State wrapped up, but Mel Pearson and his staff knew they needed to start figuring out what the team would do during the week to get ready. Especially with it being Michigan’s spring break, finding the balance between working enough to keep the team sharp and working so much that they get tired can be difficult.