Michigan's offense is ready for the Frozen Four after dismantling the nation's No. 1 defense. Julia Schachinger/Daily. Buy this photo.

The Michigan hockey team’s offensive prowess is no secret. Heading into the Frozen Four, teams and coaches are well aware of the challenges the Wolverines’ offense poses.

“Michigan’s loaded,” Denver coach David Carle said. “Obviously everyone’s known that for the past eight to 12 months, and it’ll be a great challenge to try and slow them down.”

Currently third in the nation in goals per game, Michigan blends skill and chemistry to create a lethal product on the ice — a product that constantly stays a step ahead of the competition. 

But the Frozen Four is a different animal.

The four teams heading to Boston constitute the top four scoring offenses in the NCAA. Each one is able to score at will, but only one will be crowned national champion. 

In its regional final victory, Michigan left no doubt that its offense stacks up against the nation’s best, dismantling Quinnipiac’s No. 1 ranked scoring defense.

Entering the game, the Bobcats had allowed the fewest goals per game in the country, had the strongest penalty kill percentage in the NCAA and boasted the nation’s second-highest save percentage. Despite playing in a relatively weaker conference, those stats mean something. 

The Wolverines, though, played as if those stats meant nothing. 

“We got guys that can score,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said Tuesday. “There’s different things you can do to try to make people scorers, but we have natural scorers — things that we can’t teach them.”

Those natural scorers took Quinnipiac’s defensive accolades and turned them into a hit list. Michigan ripped the usually-tight lid off the Bobcats’ net early, scoring just 33 seconds into the contest. The Wolverines followed with a steady stream of goals throughout the first two periods. 

Discredit Quinnipiac’s stellar save percentage? Check. 

Mere seconds into its first power play of the game, Michigan established puck control and quickly displaced defenders with its puck movement. One of those passes found sophomore forward Thomas Bordeleau in the slot, where he scored on the Wolverines’ first shot of the man advantage. Michigan later scored on its only other power play in the game’s final minute. 

Dominate the nation’s best penalty kill? Check. 

Even before late empty-net goals and the final power-play goal, the Wolverines already put up four goals against a defense that only gives up 1.26 per game on average. Michigan won rebounds and jostled for position around the crease, getting it done with more than just its speed and skill. 

Delegitimize Quinnipiac’s NCAA-leading goals-allowed average? Check.

“You look at (Quinnipiac’s numbers and) they’re scary. You wonder how you’re going to score,” Pearson said. “But we have guys who get to the net (and) know how to put it in the net. That’s really important this time of year.”

The Wolverines’ Frozen Four semifinal opponent — the Pioneers — have the nation’s 13th-best scoring defense, while the other side of the bracket — Minnesota State and Minnesota — have the country’s second and 11th-best scoring defenses. After handling the nation’s best defense over the weekend, Michigan proved that it’s well equipped for the upcoming challenges. 

And with two weeks in between games, the Wolverines have plenty of time to further develop offensive schemes before they take the ice on college hockey’s grandest stage. Even with the success, Michigan’s recent performance left more to be desired for Pearson. 

“I don’t think we created many grade A (chances) that we normally do on average,” Pearson said. “Even though we had some breakaways and some out-numbered rushes, but we have guys who can finish.”

If the Wolverines’ offense can continue to build off their momentum, it can rely on its scoring abilities throughout the Frozen Four. It has the skill, it has the chemistry and it has proven itself capable of overcoming top defensive units. 

Deliver Michigan’s first championship since 1998? It’s the final box that the Wolverines and their high-octane offense hope to check.