The Michigan hockey team had its entire roster together on the ice during yesterday’s practice for the first time in weeks. And if captain Jed Ortmeyer’s knee continues to improve heading into the weekend, the Wolverines might play their best lineup for the first time this season.
Ortmeyer returned to practice yesterday after missing more than three weeks. The senior forward tore his MCL Nov. 9 against Bowling Green when he tried to check a Falcon into the boards in front of the penalty box at Bowling Green State University Ice Arena.
“It feels a lot better to be able to go on the ice with the boys,” Ortmeyer said. “I feel like I can contribute something to the team. It was tough sitting in the stands trying to be a cheerleader.”
This was not the first time that Ortmeyer has been injured. His sophomore season was cut short when he tore his ACL in the same knee and required surgery. The senior had his second knee operation last summer but returned healthy to start this year.
Despite the captain’s presence in practice, both Ortmeyer and coach Red Berenson were unsure as to whether the Omaha, Neb. native would be ready to play at Northern Michigan this weekend.
“We’ll see how he feels as the week goes on,” Berenson said. “But if he’s back in the lineup this weekend, that’ll be a bonus for our team.”
Last season, Michigan’s captain finished third on the team with 38 points on 15 goals and 23 assists. In just seven games this year, Ortmeyer has already tallied two goals and five assists.
Regardless of whether or not he plays against Northern Michigan, just having their captain back on the ice for practice should be a big boost for the Wolverines.
“I think (his) leadership is huge on this team, it’s been really important,” Berenson said. “I can’t tell you it’s been lacking (without him), I think it’s been solid. But it’ll still be good for this team to have Jed back on the ice.”
Some new hardware: The CCHA honored freshman goalie Al Montoya’s performance at the College Hockey Showcase this past weekend by naming him the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week.
Montoya stopped 57 of the 59 shots he faced to lead the Wolverines to wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The Glenview, Ill. native was also named CCHA Rookie of the Week back on Nov. 18 for his efforts in Michigan’s two-game sweep of Lake Superior.