- Paul Sherman/Daily
By Greg Garno, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 11, 2013
After losing three defensemen to the National Hockey League and graduation, the Michigan hockey team needed to bolster its pairings at the blue line before next season.
But on Thursday, the Wolverines received a commitment from goaltender Zach Nagelvoort, who comes from the North American Hockey League’s Aberdeen Wings. Nagelvoort will enter Ann Arbor this fall for the 2013-14 season.
Nagelvoort will not be able to sign until Wednesday, though, the earliest possible time for prospective student athletes to sign letters of intent.
“Very happy to announce my commitment to the University of Michigan for next fall. Proud to be a Wolverine!” Nagelvoort said on Twitter.
Nagelvoort posted a 1.66 goals-against average and .949 save percentage while going 8-1-1 in his time with Aberdeen. The Holland, Mich. native originally played for the Soo Eagles before being traded to Aberdeen on Feb. 7, posting a combined 17-6-2 record with both teams.
Former Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick also played in the NAHL as a member of the Alpena IceDiggers before walking onto Michigan’s team.
“We are extremely proud and excited for Zach to continue his career at the University of Michigan,” said Aberdeen head coach Travis Winter to NAHL.com. “He will have the opportunity to play for one of the best hockey programs in the country and study at a great university. We wish him the best of luck in his future.”
At six feet two inches tall, Nagelvoort brings the height between the pipes that Michigan coach Red Berenson prefers. Freshman goaltender Steve Racine is the same height.
The Wolverines, who finished 18-19-3 overall this season, already have four goalies on their roster, though.
Racine started the last 10 games for Michigan this season, posting an 8-1-1 record with a 2.00 goals-against average in that stretch. The Wolverines started two other netminders in a tumultuous season, junior Adam Janecyk and freshman Jared Rutledge. Redshirt sophomore Luke Dwyer remains the other goalie on the roster.
The addition of Nagelvoort will likely mean that one of the four will not be on the roster at the beginning of next season.
But Michigan’s glaring need is still at defense. The departure of freshman Jacob Trouba to the NHL and junior Jon Merrill to the American Hockey League, along with the loss of Lee Moffie to graduation, means only five defensemen return to a team that gave up 3.25 goals per game — good for 51st in the nation.
Nagelvoort will join nine other commitments for next year, including three defensemen — Michael Downing, Spencer Hyman and Nolan de Jong. Forwards Evan Allen, Max Shuart, Tyler Motte, J.T. Compher, Bryson Cianfrone and Alex Kile also join Michigan next season.