While the Michigan hockey coaches made several changes during this weekend’s CCHA playoff series victory over Lake Superior, none was more successful than the decision to reunite freshman Eric Nystrom with juniors Mike Cammalleri and Jed Ortmeyer.
Ortmeyer was taken off of the top forward line with junior John Shouneyia and was paired with Cammalleri upon Cammalleri’s return to the lineup during last weekend’s series against Western Michigan. The two have been playing together since freshman year and received heavy ice-time on the same line last year before Ortmeyer injured his knee in late January, ending his season.
Nystrom, who started the weekend on a line with Shouneyia and junior Mark Mink, was placed on Cammalleri’s line midway through Friday night’s game. The move reunited the trio who had played together for the majority of the season before Cammalleri went down with mono in mid-January.
Over the weekend, the line scored seven of Michigan’s 11 goals and tallied 12 points.
“When you have those three players, you expect them to play well together,” assistant coach Billy Powers said. “If they are going to play together, they have to be a dominant line and the coaches expect (that).”
But he was unable to say whether the line was going to be kept together for the coming weekend. The Wolverines may opt instead to place one of the forwards with Shouneyia to strengthen a second line in the absence of freshman Jason Ryznar, who is out with an injured hand.
Cammalleri, Ortmeyer and Nystrom have been among Michigan’s top scorers all season and had 30 goals through their first 24 games, accounting for 35 percent of Michigan’s goals. The line had also tallied 60 points and seven game-winning goals.
Rolling stones gather no Moss: In every class there is a person who never skipped a day and possessed a perfect attendance record, but whose efforts go largely unnoticed. In this year’s freshman class, forward David Moss fits that description.
Moss and defenseman Eric Werner are the only freshmen players who hold the distinction of having dressed for every game this season and just two other Wolverines can say the same.
But lately, Moss has had more to hang his hat on, as he has scored four points in Michigan’s last seven games including two assists in Friday night’s loss.
“As coaches we felt he has taken a huge step forward,” Powers said. “When he had the chance to make a play, he has had the poise and patience to do it.
“He has shown that he can play in (playoff hockey) and make a difference with his gained confidence and poise.”
The coaching staff’s increased confidence also showed up Friday night when he received some time on the penalty-kill unit. But despite the increased role, Moss doesn’t think that it is going to become a regular occurrence.