New York was kind to the Michigan hockey team last weekend, as the Wolverines tied then-No. 18 Union and defeated Rensselaer Polytechnic Insititute to preserve their undefeated record.

Now, No. 10 Michigan (3-0-1) will defend its home ice and untarnished resume against Robert Morris in a two-game series on Friday and Saturday.

And while the Colonials (2-0-2) are unranked, the Wolverines do not intend to take them lightly.

“We’re preparing for a good team,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “Their power play looks to be much better than ours — and their penalty killing. Their numbers are better than our numbers, really.

“So we respect who they are and what they’ve done. We’ve got to come out and be able to show them we can outplay them.”

That respect is warranted for a Robert Morris squad that boasts 24 goals in just five games.

Most notably, the Wolverines will need to contain forward Greg Gibson, who is headlining the high-powered offense coming off a five-goal weekend against Niagara. This could be a daunting task given Michigan’s defensive inconsistency (14 goals in four games) as of late. Gibson also finished plus-three on the weekend.

More than anything, the Wolverines are trying to learn from their mistakes and turn last weekend’s shortcomings into this weekend’s edge.

“We want to be stingier,” Berenson said. “We can’t be a team that gives up four or five goals against and expects to win a game, so goals against (needs to improve), our power play has to be more productive, and our penalty killing has to be tighter.”

On the offensive side of the puck, senior forward Tyler Motte and freshman forward Kyle Connor leads the team with four and three goals, respectively, but they head a balanced attack. Four players are tied at two goals apiece, and Michigan will likely lean on its surprising support coming from the third line. Sophomore forward Tony Calderone and freshman forwards Brendan Warren and Cooper Marody have combined for six goals and five assists this season.

In terms of injuries, senior forward Cristoval “Boo” Nieves will be out with an upper-body injury, and junior defenseman Kevin Lohan will be sidelined as well.

Berenson indicated that his lineup will feature 11 forwards and seven defensemen, and that sophomore defenseman Sam Piazza will fill in for Lohan in the seventh defenseman role.

As Michigan hosts its second homestand of the season, the Wolverines will try to send a message to opposing teams that no performance is good enough to steal victories in Yost Ice Arena.

“We want to get off to a good start,” Berenson said. “I can’t say we did that last Friday when we played at Union. Even on the Friday before that, I don’t think we won the first period. We want to be a team that comes out of the gate fast and sharp at home and sets the tone for the game.”



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