- Jake Fromm/Daily
By Michael Florek, Daily Sports Editor
Published October 27, 2010
He’s tied for the team lead in scoring and a majority of fans don’t know his first name.
Senior forward Charles Vaughan has four goals in the No. 4 Michigan hockey team’s first six games after scoring twice Saturday night against Nebraska-Omaha. More commonly know to the Michigan faithful as “Scooter,” Vaughan shares the top of the Wolverines’ scoring list with junior David Wohlberg.
But it’s been a long and unlikely journey to the top for the current third-liner. Vaughan came to Ann Arbor as a defenseman and was expected to be a two-way player on the Michigan blue line. In two inauspicious years at defenseman, Vaughan never got the offense going. He had just nine points in his career — all assists.
In Vaughan's sophomore year, he struggled to hold a spot in the lineup, playing in just 25 of his team's 41 games. So before his junior year, the coaching staff moved him to forward. After battling inconsistency last season, Vaughan has adapted to his new role.
“He’s got speed,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “The reason I put him on forward is because he can skate, he’s got power, he’s got puck handling skills. I thought he could be a good forward. I thought he was in and out last year, he never really got into a groove where he got some confidence.”
Vaughan's attitude and skating ability caught Berenson’s eye in the preseason skates this September. Those strengths have earned him not only a regular spot in the lineup, but also extra time on the penalty kill.
And the consistency is paying off. His four goals this season have doubled his career total coming into the season. Also, his five points through six games are one shy of his career best. But instead of focusing solely on goal scoring, Vaughan is just looking to make a contribution in any way possible.
“I came into this season knowing I had to make a big impact on this team,” Vaughan said after practice Tuesday. “Whether it’s penalty killing, hitting people, blocking shots, it happens to be scoring goals now, but I pride myself on all those things.”
The scoring pace probably won’t last — Vaughan’s on pace for 24 goals, which no Wolverine reached last season. Not to mention Vaughan has a couple of lucky tallies to his credit.
On his first goal against then-No. 10 Nebraska-Omaha, Vaughan let go of a hard wrist shot from the top of the circles. The puck deflected off a Maverick defenseman’s stick and caused Nebraska-Omaha goalie John Faulkner to misplay the puck. On Vaughan’s second goal, he picked up the puck in the corner and threw it to the front. The puck bounced off a Maverick defenseman and into the net.
“Let’s face it, you just get shots on the net as a forward and some of them are going to go in,” Berenson said.
But one thing that should last is Vaughan's confidence. Both Vaughan and Berenson cited increased confidence as a reason for the forward’s offensive outburst.
As the clock winded down in Michigan’s (2-0-0 CCHA, 3-1-2 overall) 6-1 victory Saturday, the Yost crowd chanted for Vaughan to get one more shift.
“I tried to block them out,” Vaughan said after the game, smiling. “But I heard them a little bit.”
How’s that for confidence?