Michigan’s top two lines remain largely unaffected and combined for seven even-strength goals in that time. Interestingly, it has been the players directly impacted by Beecher’s loss who have been the most impressive.
When the No. 7 Michigan hockey team traveled to Columbus to play lowly Ohio State last Friday, Feb. 19, the expectation was that the Wolverines wouldn’t face much of a challenge. The Buckeyes were slumping, while Michigan had won six of eight games since returning from its winter break, including two against Ohio State.
Throughout his hockey career, Luke Morgan has been no stranger to uncertainty.
First, the now-senior forward had few options to play Division I college hockey. He ended up choosing Lake Superior State University, which proved to be a bad fit after only a year.
Then, it was his redshirt year with the Michigan hockey team. For an entire year, all Morgan could do was practice, not knowing what his role with the team would be when he finally could play — or if there would even be one for him.
Ohio State forward Jaedon Leslie received a pass at the blue line midway through the first period of Friday’s game, seemingly in a position from which he could do little damage. He took a couple of strides and flicked the puck towards the net, likely just trying to get the puck in deep and establish a cycle.
Thursday morning, Mel Pearson drove to work with a decision still to make. The Michigan coach had not yet decided who his team’s starting goaltender would be in its first game back from a three-week break.
Michigan's junior goaltender Strauss Mann has started most every game for the Wolverines' since his freshman year, but this changed two weeks before the 14-day pause. Mann and freshman goaltender Erik Portillo now share starts, with Portillo taking the first game of a weekend and Mann covering the second. While this situation implies a starting job up for grabs, this is not the case. Mann is still indisputably Michigan's no. 1 goaltender; the coaching staff has simply found a system that works.
SOUTH BEND — Midway through the third period, the game seemed to be slipping away from the Michigan hockey team.
After getting on the board first, the Wolverines were clearly the worse team for the majority of the game. Constant mistakes led to chance after chance from dangerous spots for Notre Dame. It was only a matter of time before the Fighting Irish converted on one of them.
Freshman forward Thomas Bordeleau deflected freshman defenseman Owen Power’s shot past Notre Dame goaltender Dylan St. Cyr to give Michigan (9-6 overall, 7-6 Big Ten) a one-goal lead it wouldn’t give back, leading to a 5-1 victory over the Fighting Irish (7-7-1, 5-5-1).