Ice Hockey

Freshman forward Jimmy Lambert recorded a goal and an assist at Wisconsin last weekend.

Lambert’s own two-game sample might not be enough to point the needle definitively, but a plethora of productive freshmen suggests his success could carry over into the Big Ten Tournament.

Sophomore forward Dakota Raabe has been part of a steadily improving Michigan penalty kill.

Slowing down Minnesota’s power play will be key for the Wolverines this weekend, and their penalty kill has been steadily improving in recent weeks.

Junior forward Nick Pastujov knows that Michigan needs to play with desperation this weekend.

But even as he was discussing the emotional difficulty of back-to-back overtime losses, Pearson knew that his players didn’t have much time to feel sorry for themselves.

“But when we have home ice on the line and we lose that the way we did this weekend, it’s — we gotta get over it, though,” Pearson said. “We’ve gotta move forward and go on the road and find a way to win games at Minnesota.”

Junior goaltender Hayden Lavigne let in five goals on Saturday as Michigan lost at Wisconsin.

MADISON — In 148 days, October to March, the Michigan hockey team has played 34 games. In those 34 games, its two goaltenders — junior Hayden Lavigne and freshman Strauss Mann — started 19 and 15 games, respectively.

Michigan coach Mel Pearson's team lost home-ice advantage in the Big Ten Tournament with two straight overtime losses at Wisconsin.

But in Saturday night’s game against Wisconsin (13-16-5 overall, 9-10-5-2 Big Ten), the Wolverines fell short of that goal and lost in overtime — for the second-straight night — 4-3. Now, instead of playing at home next weekend in the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan (13-14-7, 9-10-5-2) will head to Minnesota.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” said Michigan coach Mel Pearson. “I feel bad for the team. I feel bad for our fans and everyone that supports us, not to get home ice and to lose in overtime. Last night was tough, and this one is equally as tough.”

Freshman goaltender Strauss Mann let in five goals as Michigan fell to Wisconsin in overtime.

MADISON –– With the score tied at four apiece in the first overtime period and a power play about to begin, the Michigan hockey team had a prime opportunity to clinch home ice in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

Instead, the Wolverines failed to convert on the power play and seconds after the man-advantage ended, Wisconsin forward Sean Dhooghe had a breakaway opportunity. He finished on his opportunity to give Wisconsin a 5-4 victory in overtime. Now, Michigan will need to win on Saturday, in its last game of the regular season, to secure Big Ten Tournament games at Yost Ice Arena.

Coach Mel Pearson and the hockey team will look to secure a home ice advantage this weekend for the Big Ten Tournament.

In the previous series in November, it was Wisconsin’s freshmen who made the difference, scoring all three of its goals in the series. Despite the impact, their inexperience showed as well, committing late-game penalties that jeopardized the result of the match.

This weekend, Pearson expects an entirely different team — for both sides.

Nick Boka and Joseph Cecconi followed independent yet complex paths to their Senior Nights this past weekend.

Nick Boka and Joseph Cecconi found themselves at crossroads to start their junior years.

After dishing out 10 assists and finishing plus-17 as a freshman defenseman, Boka saw his production fall off a cliff the next year, scoring two total points. Beyond that, his confidence was shot. Those around him acknowledged his pedigree but Boka still knew himself that something wasn’t right.

Freshman forward Nolan Moyle has scored five goals in his last four games.

The myriad of drills coach Mel Pearson puts the Wolverines through every day in practice largely focus on getting to the top of the crease. With four of his seven goals on the season coming from that area, Moyle is clearly figuring out that the system works.

Junior forward Will Lockwood committed a costly penalty in double overtime against Ohio State, and was forced to watch Michigan's loss from the tunnel.

Instead of being on the ice, Lockwood stood. And he watched. And he waited for the result of his absence to unravel. Two minutes later, with a Jobst goal, it did.