NEW YORK CITY — Quinn Hughes went into the locker room and turned to the team. After a poor showing defensively, Hughes did what he had to do. He was accountable for his sloppiness in Saturday’s game against No. 15 Penn State, one that the Michigan hockey team lost, 5-2, with the sophomore defenseman at the epicenter.
The first two matchups between the Michigan hockey team and No. 15 Penn State resulted in a total of 23 goals scored.
In turn, Michigan coach Mel Pearson shifted his focus to defense — something he had emphasized all season. But for Thursday’s matchup especially, he made clear that he wanted to see the team protect the net better.
Entering the new year, compared to the first half of the season, there was a new Lavigne. A goaltender who practiced hard, competed hard and gave Michigan the opportunity to win. But for Lavigne and the coaching staff, it was more of the same.
“If you have it even around the net — and we missed the net a lot — they blocked a lot of shots, but we missed the net a lot. Over the net, wide on greater scoring opportunities. We’re not a gifted team as far as scoring goes. We have to really work for our goals.”
At the final buzzer, Jake Slaker could only slam his stick down at the ice in frustration, shattering it in two.
The junior forward recorded six shots on net and a goal in the Michigan hockey team’s 4-2 loss to Merrimack Tuesday night. His efforts helped give his team a chance to win the game. The defense, however, lost it.
Cecconi had only anticipated an icing pass down ice, going as far as telling junior Jake Slaker to go for the breakaway right before the play. But instead, the goal was scored and in turn, lit the spark in a team that had spent the majority of the game defending its own zone, and sent the Wolverines on their way to a 4-2 win.