Ice Hockey

As he did last year, Junior goaltender Hayden Lavigne holds the key to any potential run.

For every strong stretch that Lavigne and Mann have had this season, shuffling them around makes it that much harder for them to build on it.

It’s time to choose one of them, and squandering Lavigne’s recent heroics against such tough foes could be a season-defining mistake.

Quinn Hughes and Josh Norris represented the United States at World Junior Championships.

Josh Norris and Quinn Hughes were no strangers to U20 World Juniors. It was only one year ago the sophomore forwards had both appeared in it together for Team USA, earning a bronze medal.

Returning to the scene once more — this time in Vancouver and Victoria, Ont. — they had their eyes set on gold.

Michigan coach Mel Pearson wore a Stormy Kromer hat during Michigan's outdoor game.

Michigan coach Mel Pearson wore it behind the bench at Notre Dame Stadium on Jan. 5. As the players took off their gear and changed into their street clothes, they slipped it on as well.

“It’s a unique cap,” Pearson said. “And a unique story behind the cap.”

Freshman defenseman Nick Blankenburg formerly played forward.

In 2016, Nick Blankenburg — then 18 years old and now a freshman at Michigan — was a forward on that team, but he had a hard time scoring. Burke decided to try Blankenburg at defense for the first time in his life.

Junior goaltender Hayden Lavigne notched 30 saves with a .889 save percentage in last week's 4-2 win over Notre Dame .

Entering the new year, compared to the first half of the season, there was a new Lavigne. A goaltender who practiced hard, competed hard and gave Michigan the opportunity to win. But for Lavigne and the coaching staff, it was more of the same.

Freshman forward Garrett Van Wyhe had seven shots on goal over the weekend against the Buckeyes.

With an outstretched skate and some faceoff grit, freshmen defenseman Nick Blankenburg and forward Garrett Van Wyhe proved in Michigan hockey’s series split at Ohio State that they’re here to stay.

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For a moment, it looked like Jimmy Lambert’s first goal of his Michigan hockey career might be a game-winner. But just 28 seconds later, the Buckeyes (13-5-4, 6-3-3-2) tied it up at the other end of the ice when defenseman Wyatt Ege found twine for his first tally of the season.

The Buckeyes added an empty-netter with 24.1 seconds remaining to ice the game and win, 4-2.

Michigan in a game against Ohio State at The Schottenstein Center Friday. Michigan won 2-1.

With their backs to the wall, against a team that beat them four times last year, the Wolverines did more than fight back.

Michigan killed the penalty, and after junior forward Jake Slaker scored minutes later to tie the game, it never looked back. At the end of the day, Slaker and the Wolverines walked off the ice with a 2-1 win over the Buckeyes.

Junior forward Jake Slaker said that Michigan will have to throw the kitchen sink at Ohio State this weekend.

The cards seemed to be set for Michigan to get back on track and make a run through the second half of the season, just as it did last year, when the Wolverines swept No. 9 Minnesota in the second weekend of the second half and ended up in the Frozen Four.

And then Merrimack happened.

The Wolverines' offensive struggles have held them back, currently boasting a 7-8-6 record.

“If you have it even around the net — and we missed the net a lot — they blocked a lot of shots, but we missed the net a lot. Over the net, wide on greater scoring opportunities. We’re not a gifted team as far as scoring goes. We have to really work for our goals.”