Michigan forward Mike Cammalleri couldn’t help but laugh when asked about Mark Mink, his roommate during his freshman year.
Mink, who has played ice hockey his entire life, has become progressively more enamored with field hockey in his time at Michigan. His “passion and love” for the non-ice variety of the game can’t be questioned.
“He really likes field hockey. It’s his favorite sport,” Cammalleri said. “He likes it so much that sometimes we call him a jersey-chaser, because he’s always trying to watch the games.”
In addition to his tireless devotion to the field hockey team, Mink has been chasing plenty of CCHA jerseys – right into the boards. The junior has been one of the Wolverines’ most consistent workers night in and night out, especially during their current nine-game CCHA winning streak.
“He’s really stepped it up, especially in the last couple of weeks, and we needed that,” junior John Shouneyia said. “If we’re going to stay hot, the best players are going to have to keep it up. We’re going to need his success to continue.”
Michigan coach Red Berenson said at the beginning of the season that he and his staff were expecting Mink to be a big factor on the team’s second line and were hoping he would contribute 15 to 20 goals this season.
But points have not been forthcoming for the Livonia native, who had just two goals and six assists on the season going into the Wolverines’ game with Ohio State on Feb. 23.
“It’s been frustrating for us and him all year that he hasn’t had a better season,” Berenson said. “And it hasn’t been a lack of trying.”
Said Mink: “When you’re not scoring or contributing offensively, you’ve got to do the little things out there. Whether it’s a big hit or a good shift down low cycling the puck, it’s going to wear out the other team’s defense.”
Mink has been a line foster child for most of the season, alternating between the first, second and fourth lines as the coaches have tried to find the right combination for him to excel. But against Western Michigan, he finally found a home, paired with Shouneyia – his long-time teammate – and freshman Eric Nystrom.
Mink found his scoring touch, tallying a goal on Friday and the game-winning assist Saturday on a pass to Shouneyia. He has scored four points (2-2-4) in his last three games, and considers himself “on a roll.”
“It was a good feeling,” Mink said. ” I’ve been struggling most of the season, but I’m really starting to get my confidence back.”
“He’s had a chance to step up and play a bigger role, and he’s done that,” Berenson said. “He’s giving us his absolute best effort, and he’s getting rewarded for it.”
Shouneyia, who has played with Mink since they were in junior leagues together, knows his friend well and believes in what he can do with some confidence to fuel his performance.
“I know he’s capable,” Shouneyia said. “He’s taken it upon himself to turn things around and re-boost his own confidence.”