The instant the red light flashed on Sunday, senior Mark Kosick raised his arms gallantly in the air. He then started pumping his fists and legs simultaneously like a piston with an ear-to-ear grin spanning across his face.
His second goal in as many nights had given Michigan the ever-important first goal in its 4-3 victory over St. Cloud, propelling the Wolverines back into the Frozen Four.
Kosick”s performance the night before could”ve been represented by the Four Tops big hit, “It”s the Same Old Song.” With Michigan down 3-2 to Mercyhurst, and his own career hanging in the balance, Kosick came through in the clutch once again. He sent a rocket wrist shot past previously stellar Peter Aubry who set aside 47 of Michigan”s 51 shots to tie the game and shift the momentum in one fell swoop.
This shouldn”t come as a surprise to anyone, for when the playoffs come around it always seems to be “Mark Kosick time.”
“He”s had a history of playing well in the playoffs,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “And he”s doing it again.”
So it”s wasn”t shocking when fellow senior Josh Langfeld was asked before the weekend who would come up big with some goals for Michigan, he replied with two words: Mark Kosick.
But if one asked the senior himself, it is no guarantee that the same answer would come up. Just a week earlier in the CCHA title game against the Spartans, instead of competing on the ice, Kosick was told he”d be wearing a suit instead of his usual blue sweater, labeled a “healthy scratch” for the second time this season.
With Kosick and the rest of the senior class being expected to produce from day one, the confidence of the senior winger hasn”t always been sky high.
“When he is not playing hard or well, that”s my job to help the kid play better,” Berenson said. “Sometimes it”s moving him around, or sitting him out to try to get his attention or showing him the videotapes.
“But I”ve never given up on the kid.”
And why should he? Kosick leads the current Wolverines in career playoff points with 29, and is remembered for his freshman year heroics in the national title game in 1998, in which he scored two goals on his way to being named to the All-Tournament Team.
“Everybody wants to win so much,” Kosick said about the playoff atmosphere. “It”s just a team atmosphere in the playoffs. It”s the most exciting time of the year and you want to play your best in the playoffs, and I”ve been fortunate enough to do that in my career.”
Kosick followed his fairy-tale freshman performance with an equally stunning sequel in his sophomore campaign. In the CCHA Tournament, Kosick earned MVP honors by racking up three goals and four assists to lead Michigan to the conference crown.
And in an attempt to save his best for last, Kosick has tallied three points in two NCAA games so far, and Michigan”s opponent in the Frozen Four leaves a promising omen for things to come. The Wolverines face Boston College, the same team Kosick lit up for two goals in 1998.
“Mark”s playing so well,” Berenson said. “He”s playing the best hockey he”s played all year. The momentum and confidence he has now compared to what he had two weeks ago is like night and day.
“And I”ll be the first one to hug him when he scores the winning goal in the next game