Sophomore Luke Glendening thought to himself, “Man, we should shoot it more.”
Glendening, normally a penalty-killing specialist for the Michigan hockey team, doesn’t spend much time on the power play. So he’s been able to watch the last few games as the Wolverines’ woes with the man-advantage were made obvious.
Entering Saturday’s contest against Northern Michigan, the Wolverines had converted on just 2-of-21 chances in their previous four games, with eight of those missed opportunities coming in the previous night’s matchup against the Wildcats.
Sitting above the left face-off dot with about six minutes left in the second, junior forward Ben Winnett sent a simple wristshot over goalie Brian Stewart’s blocker. Glendening finally saw something the team had been missing.
“It’s always a process,” Glendening said. “I watch a lot of the PP … and tonight we shot it more and got some goals, so that was good for our team.
Winnett’s fifth goal of the season sent the Wolverines into the second intermission with a 3-2 lead, and in firm possession of the momentum. But after Michigan (13-12-1-0 CCHA, 18-16-1 overall) surrendered two goals in a span of 1:14 early in the final stanza, the Wolverines found themselves in a hole once again. It was the second time in the game the team fell behind and had to come back from a deficit.
Still behind with about 12 minutes remaining in the game, Michigan went on its sixth power play of the contest.
Senior forward Brian Lebler corralled a loose puck in the offensive zone and, while stationed in the right corner, sent a cross-ice pass to a streaking and wide-open Chad Langlais.
The Spokane, Wash. native one-timed the puck past Stewart to tie the game up at four.
“Sometimes (the power play) clicks, sometimes it doesn’t,” junior forward Louie Caporusso said. “Lebler made a great pass. Chad did a great job of finishing it. Sometimes you’ll see that pass, but it never gets finished.”
The Wolverines’ power play has been streaky all year, at times showing signs of greatness and sometimes, just being downright average. But against the Wildcats (11-9-6-3, 15-11-8), Michigan showed why it has the fourth-best power play in the CCHA.
The unit spends every day in practice working on the man-advantage and Michigan coach Red Berenson has said throughout the year that he has worked on the power play more with this team than any in recent memory. And it has many different options that it can rely on with the power play.
“We haven’t been consistent on the power play and yet our numbers tell us we’re decent on the power play,” Berenson said. “But really, the timing of when you score on the power play is huge. … Tonight, the power play was a big factor in helping us come back and win that game.”