Over the next three weeks, the Michigan hockey team will play
two important series, and it will do so shorthanded. Forward Jeff
Tambellini and goaltender Al Montoya — both sophomores
— will miss action to play for their countries, while junior
forward David Moss is out with an injury.

Mira Levitan
Junior David Moss badly sprained his ankle last Friday and will sit out this weekend. (RYAN WEINER/Daily)

Tambellini was the only U.S. college hockey player invited to
attend Canada’s junior national team tryouts, which commence
this weekend.

His absence will hinder the Wolverines’ effort this
weekend when they travel to Omaha. The two-game series against
Nebraska-Omaha is pivotal for the Wolverines, who have slipped to
fifth in the CCHA after splitting a pair of games with Michigan
State this past weekend. If Tambellini does not make Team Canada,
he will rejoin Michigan at the Great Lakes Invitational.

Michigan coach Red Berenson noted that although Tambellini may
be in a slump (he hasn’t notched a point in six games),
losing him will hurt the Wolverines because he’s still their
leading goal scorer and is always one of Michigan’s most
dangerous scoring threats.

Berenson also noted that Moss would not see action this weekend
because of a high-ankle injury sustained in Friday’s 2-0
victory against the Spartans.

Montoya will miss the GLI at the end of the month to play for
the U.S. National Junior Team in the International World Junior
Championships held in Finland. In his absence, the Wolverines will
probably start sophomore Noah Ruden. Ruden, a Bloomfield Hills
native, has seen action in two games this season and five games
over the course of his career.

Ruden downplays the rare opportunity to relieve Montoya.

“That’s (the backup goalie’s) job,”
Ruden said. “It’s no different than if (Montoya) were
to get hurt or something (else) were to happen (to Montoya). I know
about (it) a few weeks down the road, so it helps in terms of
mental preparation.”

Ruden’s businesslike approach doesn’t mean that
he’s not happy for the chance to play.

“It’s going to be fun to play in a big venue like
Joe Louis, (against) the best team in the nation, and it’s an
opportunity to show the coaches and everyone else that I am good
enough to be out there.”

The “best team in the nation” that Ruden is
referring to is Boston College, which is currently the No. 2 squad
in the country according to USCHO.com’s rankings released
yesterday. The Wolverines face the Eagles on Dec. 27 in Detroit and
then will take on either Michigan State or Michigan Tech the
following day.

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