Wolverines look to create own energy on the road

Paul Sherman/Daily
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By Zach Shaw, Daily Sports Writer
Published January 19, 2015

COLUMBUS — When senior forward Zach Hyman scored his second goal of the game 5:36 into the first period to give the Michigan hockey team a 2-0 lead, the celebratory banging of gloves and sticks was heard loud and clear even from the highest parts of the building. The rest of Value City Arena was shockingly quiet.

The fans in Columbus— all 8,156 of them — had been silenced early. For the Wolverines, that meant mission accomplished.

“I think it was huge,” said sophomore forward Tyler Motte. “We’re just trying to focus on our system and play our game every night, no matter what building we’re in and no matter what energy there is.

“We’re trying to create our own energy.”

The 10-6 win at Ohio State marked the start of an eight-game road trip for No. 16 Michigan. The stretch away from home comes after playing 11 of 12 games in Southeast Michigan — two in Detroit for the Great Lakes Invitational and nine at the friendly confines of Yost Ice Arena.

The lone trip outside of the state was to Boston, where the Wolverines fell to then-No. 16 Boston College, 5-1 — the team’s only loss since Nov. 21.

After starting the season 1-5 on the road, the Wolverines needed to start fast in the unfamiliar environment Friday. Thanks to the early offensive execution, the 10-6 win showed that the Wolverines are capable of doing just that.

“Zach got us out to a good start,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “With (Friday)’s game, you could say we won the game and we scored a lot of goals, but we gave up six goals.

“Had they scored the first two or three goals and we had to play catch-up in this building, it could’ve been a different outcome.”

Behind Hyman’s goals, Michigan hushed the crowd. With two more goals in the period, the Wolverines successfully sucked the life from the stands, leaving only their own energy to control the game.

But in the third period, three consecutive Buckeye scores evaporated Michigan’s five-goal lead and brought the remaining fans to their feet. It was a crude glimpse for Michigan of what can happen when it plays passively on the road.

“It’s a game of momentum too,” Berenson said. “We had momentum for parts of the game, but when they had momentum, it was really obvious.

“We didn’t like the momentum and the way things were going — the puck was going in too easy.”

Friday, the Wolverines travel to Madison, where they haven’t won since 2006. Though the Badgers are just 2-13-3 on the season, Michigan players know that come conference play, there simply are no breaks on the road.

“We got the bounces (Friday),” Motte said. “But it’s easy to see that game going the other way if we didn’t get that extra bounce or two.

“Obviously, we’ve got to find a way to win on the road if we’re going to compete in the Big Ten.”