Michigan coach Red Berenson says defensemen and goaltenders have
an advantage in the early stages of the season because it takes
time for forwards to get comfortable and develop chemistry with
their linemates.

Kate Green
DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
On Saturday, forward Eric Nystrom tallied a powerplay goal early in the second.

After Michigan’s 5-3 win over Mercyhurst, if the best of the
Wolverines’ offense is yet to come, then their future opponents had
better be ready for an offensive onslaught.

Against the Lakers, Michigan looked surprisingly sharp on the
powerplay, converting on three of six chances. Relying on good
spacing and crisp passing, Michigan was able to generate
opportunity after opportunity.

The Wolverines also got to experiment with a myriad of units,
and Berenson is quickly getting a feel for which ones he can rely
on.

“We did have a lot of different combinations,” Berenson said.
“We’re still feeling our way on the powerplay. The powerplay has to
take advantage of chances, and for the most part, I think we’re
going in the right direction.”

One tactic that is working particularly well on the powerplay is
having forward Jeff Tambellini back at the blueline playing the
point with Brandon Rogers. As the fourth forward and yet another
threat on the ice, he forces the opposing team to keep an eye on
him, and that gives the forwards even more room to operate.

This worked beautifully on Michigan’s third and fifth goal, even
though Tambellini wasn’t involved in either one. On the two goals,
Eric Nystrom and T.J. Hensick both benefited from clear paths to
the net and had no trouble notching their respective goals.

Nystrom’s powerplay goal, which gave Michigan a 3-1 lead early
in the second period, was also important because it turned the
momentum in the Wolverines’ favor. Blowing powerplay chances has
the potential to be demoralizing, but in Saturday’s game that was
never a factor.

“The timing sometimes of your powerplay goals is huge,” Berenson
said. “I thought (Eric) Nystrom’s goal was a big goal for us at the
time.”

Standing tall: Michigan easily defeated York Friday night in an
exhibition game 6-2.

York’s goaltender Derek Dolson earned the first star of the
game.

Sound strange?

Look closely at the box score and you’ll find out why it’s not –
Dolson stopped an astonishing 68 shots, including 51 of 52 in the
final two periods.

After the game, Berenson and Michigan players alike knew the
scenario wouldn’t play out again during the season.

“We’re old enough and smart enough to realize we’re not going to
get those chances (Saturday) night (against Mercyhurst),” Milan
Gajic said. “We’re not going to be able to sit in the slot for 30
seconds and not get picked up.”

Though Mercyhurst was a much tougher team, the Wolverines still
outshot it by a hefty 43-26 margin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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