The freshmen on the No. 1 Michigan hockey team have been spoiled.

For the first four games of their Michigan careers, they’ve played in the friendly confines of Yost Ice Arena — one of the most inhospitable college hockey environments — with the home-ice advantage.

So when the Wolverines (4-0) travel to Marquette to face Northern Michigan (3-1) this weekend for its first conference series, there’s going to be a little bit of a culture shock.

“It’s not friendly when you’re playing at another team’s building,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “You have to go in there with some resolve (and) really play the way you would at home.”

The freshmen have already proven they can hold their own at home. Berenson said the Wolverines are typically a “good road team,” but there are still eight players who have yet to experience life away from Yost.

“Early in the season, all these teams are going to be good at home,” Berenson said. “(For) some of these kids, there may be a little stage fright.”

Northern Michigan’s vicious student section, also known as the Puckheads, won’t help ease the stage fright. Senior captain Luke Glendening admits that though the Puckheads are not nearly as ruthless as the Children of Yost, they may prove intimidating for the inexperienced freshmen.

“It’s fun, it’s a great place to play,” Glendening said. “The more the fans get into it, the harder it is for all of us, but if we can come out to a good start, it will be alright.”

Berenson thinks the environment will be fine, and he looks to capitalize on one of the few advantages given to the visiting team — time to focus.

The Wolverines flew up to Marquette yesterday afternoon, and for once will have all of Friday to prepare.

Instead of the players attending classes and taking exams in the hours before the weekend kicks off, they will use the time to get acclimated to the ice at the Berry Events Center. The Wolverines suffered from Friday-night slumps last season, so the extra time is much appreciated.

Michigan will take time to adjust to Northern Michigan’s Olympic-sized rink. Upperclassmen will room with the freshmen to settle nerves. The coaches and equipment staff will keep everything as routine as possible, and multiple team meetings throughout the day ensure that everyone is on the same page.

But there’s one aspect of playing at home that the Wolverines can’t bring with them — something they’ve relied on since the start of the season.

The Yost student section’s energy has propelled the team during its four game homestand.

Michigan has scored in bunches in every game this season. Rapid successions of goals have brought the Wolverines back from mid-game slumps. Scoring has become contagious.

And the team knows they have the student section to thank for that. The Children of Yost can make or break a game.

So if Michigan finds itself trailing the Wildcats this weekend, it’s going to have to create a little magic of its own to propel itself forward. And that is perhaps the biggest challenge that the Wolverines will have to face.

“(Momentum) has to come from us,” Glendening said. “The puck’s not guaranteed to go in. A good play, a good defensive battle, little stuff like that can pick up a team.”

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