With just under 10 minutes left in the first period of Friday’s game against Boston University, the Michigan hockey team was on its second power play. Freshman forward Will Lockwood had just scored to put the Wolverines up, 1-0, and the team was looking to earn some cushion against the fourth-ranked Terriers.

Junior forward Dexter Dancs received a pass from freshman defenseman Luke Martin at the blue line, and skated it up the right boards. Dancs drew Boston University’s Bobo Carpenter toward him, but right before Carpenter reached him, Dancs dished a backhanded pass to junior forward Tony Calderone, who ripped a one-timer through a crowd and into the back of the net.

It was just what Michigan needed.

The Terriers represented the Wolverines’ biggest game of the year, but there was one problem entering the matchup — Michigan was down a few seniors. Forwards Alex Kile and Max Shuart, defenseman Nolan De Jong and goaltender Zach Nagelvoort were suspended for “breaking team rules,” and as a result, Michigan coach Red Berenson and his staff had to reshuffle their lines.

Dancs was one beneficiary of the change. He was one of the returners from last season that was expected to make a leap in productivity this year. But because of a slow start — Dancs had only one point through eight games — the junior has spent much of the season being moved from line to line in an effort to spark the offensive side of his game.

Friday, Dancs was placed on the first line with Lockwood and freshman forward Jake Slaker, who have been some of the most consistent producers for the Wolverines. As it turns out, their performances may have been contagious. Dancs put together the best weekend of his season, assisting Calderone on Friday before tallying a goal for himself on Saturday.

After notching two points on the weekend, Dancs attributed his performance to both past success before college and his practice regiment this season.

“Scoring goals is what I used to do before I got here,” Dancs said. “The past two years, there’s been some players ahead of me that are very good. And I’ve gotten to watch them and learn from them. And I’ve been doing a lot of stuff with (assistant coach Brian) Wiseman. He scored a lot of goals when he was here, so he’s been helping me.”

While the offensive side of Dancs’ game is important, it wasn’t the only aspect in which he was better this weekend. Dancs also played a more physical brand of hockey. He was involved in multiple big hits, and was often chasing and battling for the puck in the corners.

But whether it’s with physicality or finesse on the offensive side of the puck, perhaps the most important thing for Dancs is to know his role on the team.

“I think he’s figuring it out,” Berenson said. “He’s starting to realize how he has to play to help our team. Sometimes a player comes out and they do what they want to do. And if they’re not doing what we need them to do, then they can be out of sync. And I think Dexter was out of sync. And now he’s playing more physical, he’s playing harder and he’s playing better.”

Though the improvement came to fruition this weekend, there is still work to be done.

“If he plays his best, I think he can be a top-six forward on this team, but last year he ended up playing mostly on the bottom six,” Berenson said. “He’s just now starting to show what he was doing last year. And if he develops — if he continues to improve — he’ll have a better role. He can help our power play if he plays well, and he can help our top six forwards.”

Added Dancs: “Coming into this year, my goal was to contribute more offensively. Throughout the first few games, it hasn’t gone that way for me. But I know if I trust the process and keep working hard, that’ll come.”

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