For one night, Michigan freshman forward Andrew Ebbett was the Great One.
The Vernon, British Columbia native camped behind the Northern Michigan net and whipped holes in the Wildcats defense like Wayne Gretzky. Ebbett passed his way to three assists, leading to a 5-1 Michigan win and its first-ever series sweep of Northern Michigan.
“We’re going to add the other nine back there this week for practice, for the 99 back there,” forward Milan Gajic joked after the game of Ebbett’s jersey, which as of now bears a No. 19.
While he may not be as good as the NHL’s all-time leading scorer, Ebbett seemed pretty comfortable behind the goal.
“If no one’s forcing me, I’ll sit there all day,” Ebbett said.
The freshman’s line on the powerplay, which also featured sophomores David Moss and Gajic, dominated the Wildcats penalty kill to the tune of three powerplay goals. Michigan coach Red Berenson put them together after the Wolverines went 0-for-5 on the powerplay Friday night.
In total, Michigan had a whopping 13 powerplays on Saturday, as Northern Michigan racked up 74 penalty minutes.
Moss put Michigan on the board early with a powerplay goal just 6:37 into the first period. He found a loose puck behind Northern Michigan goalie Craig Kowalski and pushed it past the goalline to make it 1-0.
In the game, Moss had a career-high three points on two goals and an assist.
He scored his second goal later in the first period with two Wildcats in the penalty box. Moss was the beneficiary of Ebbett’s prettiest assist of the game. The freshman ripped a pass around the goal, and Moss bounced the puck off of his stick and into the net to give the Wolverines an early, but comfortable, 3-0 lead.
“The start of this game, I thought, was going to be huge,” Berenson said. “Certainly Northern wanted to come back and right the ship. They played well last night with how close they were. We knew how close the game could be if we let them get going.”
The Wolverines continued their assault early in the second period on a sharp drive by captain Jed Ortmeyer. Senior John Shouneyia found his linemate in the slot from behind the net. Ortmeyer stopped the puck with his skate and ripped a slapshot just inside the far goalpost.
The goal was Ortmeyer’s 11th on the season, keeping him one ahead of Moss for second on the team.
Gajic added his second goal of the game late in the second period to put a cap on Michigan’s scoring outburst at 5-0. Ebbett found him with a pass from behind the net that was eerily similar to his assist to Moss earlier in the game.
Gajic also had two goals last Friday against Ferris State. He now has nine goals on the season, but no hat tricks.
“It’s kind of funny, it kind of looks like I’m afraid of it or something,” Gajic said of getting three goals in a game. “Right now, I’m not going to complain, I’ll take whatever I can get.”