Brandon Rogers was the only Michigan defenseman on the ice during the chaotic last minute of the third period in last Friday’s 4-4 tie against Ohio State, and he took the shot that forward Andrew Ebbett banged in to send the game to overtime with one second left.
But that’s not the play that stuck with Rogers. What lingered after the weekend was a miscue he made against the Buckeyes’ R.J. Umberger in Saturday night’s 3-3 draw.
“I kinda let him get the best of me on one play in the Saturday game, so I wasn’t thrilled about that,” Rogers said. “It was stressed all weekend how important he is for their team and not to let him get involved in the game, and unfortunately he was able to on Saturday, so that sort of frustrated me a lot.”
Assistant coach Billy Powers said that it bothered Rogers “to the point where he almost gets too emotional about it and he’s got to put it behind him.”
Sophomore defenseman Nick Martens said Rogers is super-competitive and takes particular pride in one-on-one matchups.
“He’s a real intense kid,” Martens said. “He hates to get beat and he loves to win, so you can tell his personality carries over on the ice. He really works hard on (one-on-one situations), and the thing you can count on is him performing in one-on-one battles and winning them for you.”
Martens, who lives with Rogers, is used to seeing that competitiveness – all the time. He said his housemate is “just as feisty off the ice as he is on it.”
Rogers admitted he gets “teased sometimes for maybe going over the edge,” but he said he can’t help it.
“It’s just, I guess, part of my nature, and I don’t even really think about it,” Rogers said. “I hate to lose, so I do whatever I can not to.”
Even if he is just playing pingpong or wrestling with his teammates.
Powers, for one, loves Rogers’ competitiveness and cites it as one reason why the sophomore has played so well for the Wolverines this season.
Rogers is a key member of both the penalty kill and powerplay units and is second among Michigan defensemen with 19 points (four goals and 15 assists). Three of his goals have come on the powerplay.
As a freshman last season, Rogers earned just three points. His improved production has been vital to the Wolverines this season – particularly with the loss of Mike Komisarek over the summer and Eric Werner during the season. But Rogers said he still concentrates on his defensive responsibilities first and “offense comes along with playing solid defense.”
Powers said Rogers had to work hard to learn how to play well without the puck last season, and now that he has, his confidence has increased. That has allowed him to take more risks in the offensive zone.
“Brandon’s character I think is really what’s coming out (this season),” Powers said. “He is just the kind of player that is never satisfied with where he’s at.”
Honored, again: Freshman Jeff Tambellini was named to the CCHA All-Conference Second Team, becoming just the 12th freshman ever to earn that recognition. Goaltender Al Montoya received an honorable mention. It’s the second honor this week for both players – they were named to the Bauer/CCHA All-Rookie Team on Tuesday.