MANCHESTER, N.H. – By losing to Boston College in the
final round of the Northeast Regional of the NCAA Tournament, the
Michigan hockey team continued a trend that has been present all
year long — inconsistent play on the road. With the loss, the
team dropped a game on a road trip for the eighth time this
season.

But what makes this series different from those that came before
it is the fact that Michigan stayed close to its opponents —
or ahead of them if you consider the Wolverines’ lopsided 4-1
victory over New Hampshire Saturday — for nearly all of the
120 minutes that they were on the ice.

Associate coach Mel Pearson attributed this ability to stay
close in an important game to two factors — experience and
desperation.

“I think that it’s the right time of year, and I
think we’ve had a lot of kids in this setting before —
on the road at this time of year,” Pearson said. “Once
you get to this stage of the game, when it’s one (loss) and
you’re (done), I think it does put your back to the wall a
bit and I think you do play a little harder and do some of those
things you need to do on the road to win. (The team) did
that.”

The team’s desperate attitude this weekend seemed
different than its attitude in the last few weeks of play.

A month ago, the Wolverines headed down to South Bend to take on
the Fighting Irish. They needed one win to clinch the CCHA regular
season championship. Instead, they dropped both games and left
Michigan fans scratching their heads.

Last weekend, the Wolverines waltzed into the final of the CCHA
Tournament by beating Northern Michigan 5-1, but, by their own
admission, did not come mentally prepared for Saturday’s
final against Ohio State. After playing two woeful periods of
hockey, they made a last-ditch effort to get back in the game, but
came up short. The 4-2 loss shipped them off to New Hampshire for
the NCAA Tournament.

“I think any time you suffer a loss like we did to Ohio
State, you’re hoping your team bounces back from a loss like
that,” said Pearson following the team’s win over New
Hampshire. “I think our kids showed a lot of character and
resiliency and did bounce back from that.”

Honorable return: Despite the loss, Michigan will still
bring a few awards back to Ann Arbor. Three Wolverines —
defenseman Andy Burnes, forward Brandon Kaleniecki and goaltender
Al Montoya — were named to the Northeast Region
All-Tournament Team.

Kaleniecki led the team with a pair of goals on Saturday, while
Montoya played solid in both outings, giving up just four total
goals.

Pearson said that was a testament to the solid depth the team
has had all sea son.

“We do have depth at all positions and I think it shows
that we do have elite players at Michigan,” Pearson said.

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