OMAHA Jed Ortmeyer is the captain of the Michigan hockey team for a reason.
The Omaha native was the catalyst for the Wolverines” strong finishes this weekend, tying the game at four with 37 seconds left to play on Friday night, and setting up freshman Eric Nystrom”s game-winning goal in overtime on Saturday night.
With Michigan up 2-1 on Friday night, it was Ortmeyer who knocked the puck into the net past Michigan goalie Josh Blackburn for the Mavericks” game-tying goal.
But down 4-3 with his team in desperation mode, Ortmeyer received a feed from junior forward Mike Cammalleri in front of the crease. He wouldn”t quit until the Wolverines” fourth goal was in the net, firing three shots at Nebraska-Omaha goaltender Dan Ellis before lighting the lamp and sending the game into overtime.
“I was hoping for any chance I could get to try and redeem myself, and I got a shot at it,” Ortmeyer said. “It felt great after knocking the tying goal in for them.”
Saturday, the junior forward went the extra mile once again with a tremendous individual effort in overtime. Ortmeyer pressured defender Greg Zanon behind the net, stole the puck and passed it to Nystrom who netted the series-clinching goal for the Wolverines.
“That”s Jed Ortmeyer,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “That”s hustle, that”s second effort. He took a lot of faceoffs tonight because Cammalleri”s shoulder was bothering him, and I don”t think he lost one the entire game. We got the puck in deep, and he won the race to the puck. It was a great second effort by a captain, and this is fitting because he is from Omaha.”
Up goes Fraser: Just one month after starting against Michigan State in the “Cold War” game, freshman defenseman Brandon Rogers was a healthy scratch this weekend.
“Brandon”s a young player,” Berenson said. “He”s done a lot of good things, but he”s got to eliminate his turnovers and positional mistakes, and if he does that he”s going to be a good player.”
Junior defenseman Brad Fraser, Rogers” current replacement on the blueline, has taken advantage of his opportunities especially this weekend. Fraser cleared the puck on the penalty kill countless times, contributing to Michigan”s improbable string of 24 straight kills.
“He”s experienced, he”s been here, he knows what it takes, and he”s playing well,” Berenson said.
Meltdown: On both nights, Blackburn”s job wasn”t very difficult until the third period. The Wolverines allowed almost as many shots in the final frame (24) as the rest of the games combined (27).
“I know we were really tired,” junior Mike Roemensky said. “They dump it in a lot and forecheck and really bang us. It”s tough to play against that. The best thing for us to do is do quick changes and keep the shifts short.”
Century club: Junior forward Mike Cammalleri recorded his 100th point as a Wolverine with his assist on Ortmeyer”s game-tying goal Friday night. Cammalleri leads Michigan this season with 14 points after 11 games.