Before facing Ohio State, Michigan coach Red Berenson pieced together a line so potent it could’ve carried the Wolverines to the Promised Land — last year’s NCAA finals.

But that was then, and this year is a different story. When Berenson created a line combination of seniors Carl Hagelin and Louie Caporusso and sophomore forward Chris Brown, he was doing it on a whim and out of dire necessity. Their 25 goals, entering the series, were less than half of their production from last season, and 13 of those tallies came from Hagelin’s stick alone.

Once their blades hit the ice early in the first period of Friday’s 3-2 victory over the Buckeyes, the high-octane line made Berenson look like a regular wizard. Caporusso netted the game-winning goal on Friday, and Brown did the honors in Saturday’s 2-1 win. The trio had seven points in the Wolverines’ series sweep of Ohio State at Yost Ice Arena.

The three skaters, who had just two points in the No. 13 Michigan hockey team’s three-game skid, gave their coach exactly what he’s been asking for all year: his best players finally were his best players.

The weekend belonged to Brown, who caught fire to pace the Wolverines (16-7-1-0 CCHA, 19-9-4 overall) with two goals — the fifth and sixth of his sophomore campaign.

“It feels really good (to score again), but I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Louie and Carl,” Brown said. “I think we’re just clicking right now. It’s something that (Berenson) was hoping for, and I think we’re doing above and beyond what he wanted.

“Since we did juggle the lines around, there was definitely a need of more communication, so I think that really helped.”

Brown was on the prowl all weekend, putting on a show that coupled his scoring finesse with his penchant for bashing and bruising.

The Texas state flag, a tradition that started last season in honor of the Flower Mound, Texas native, flew five times in the student section on Saturday. The first two were expected — once during introductions, and again after his second-period goal. But it rose once more when Brown picked himself up off the ice after taking an errant knee to the thigh — still, he wasn’t about to be knocked out of the game or let up on his physicality.

“You can’t stop going full speed,” Brown said, explaining the injury. “It’s kind of like an 18-wheeler — you can’t stop on a dime.”

Brown’s last stand came two minutes into the third period, when he was sent to the dressing room early after receiving a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind. Brown slammed his stick on the end glass as he skated off, but behind him the Texas flag made it’s final proud appearance — the previously hapless Brown was back in good graces with the Michigan contingent.

“It’s always nice to come home to that (flag),” Brown said.

When Brown left the ice in the third period, so did his big-bodied, physical presence on the wing of Michigan’s power line.

But Berenson was pleased with the physicality that his team displayed against the Buckeyes (9-13-2-2, 14-15-2) on Saturday.

“I thought we played with a little more gusto and a little more oomph,” Berenson said.

Before he was sent off, Brown gave the Wolverines all the scoring they’d need in the second period. The goal was the epitome of what Berenson was looking for when he packaged the Texan, Canadian and Swede on a line.

Hagelin picked up the puck behind the net, circled around the side boards and dished between a pair of defenders to Brown crashing in toward the net. Brown tipped the puck above the shoulder of Buckeye goaltender Cal Heeter.

“Carl just waited, was really patient with the puck, threw it at the net and I kind of just chipped it — took out my nine-iron and just put it in there,” Brown said.

Caporusso, who scored and added an assist on Friday, said shaking up the lines appeared to “spark the chemistry” that some players needed to find their scoring touch in the weekend sweep.

“It’s fun to be back with guys who are more creative around the net,” Hagelin added. “We won a lot of battles, second efforts, and that’s where we got all those chances.”

Berenson seems to have found an offensive pairing that could prove a scoring threat for the long haul. And with just four games remaining on the CCHA slate, it’s just in the nick of time.

“This is playoff hockey, really,” Berenson said. “We’re in kind of a playoff mode, everything is important … this will hopefully move our team in the right direction.”

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