In a lifetime spent as a hockey player and mentor, Michigan coach Red Berenson has become a mastermind of many aspects of the game.

But even decades of wisdom can’t provide the answers for everything.

As No. 10 Michigan prepares to end its regular season in Columbus this weekend, the team is still searching for a power-play formula that can propel it to playoff success.

“We’re working on it,” Berenson said. “I thought we had some good moments (during Tuesday’s) practice and hopefully . we will have a few more. Then hopefully it will translate into the games this weekend. But (the power play) is a fickle thing.”

Throughout the entire season, Michigan’s special teams success has dictated the direction the team is headed.

Since scoring on 3-of-9 opportunities during a 7-4 victory at Western Michigan Feb. 2, the Wolverines have scored on just 2-of-25 chances. The deficiency resulted in a three-game losing streak before Sunday’s win over Lake Superior State.

During Friday night’s loss to the Lakers, Michigan’s struggles resulted from hesitation in the opposition’s zone.

“Sometimes we just couldn’t get shots through to the net,” Michigan captain Matt Hunwick said following Friday’s game. “Guys were holding onto the puck for too long and those lanes closed off. We definitely need to improve the power play if we want to win games.”

Heading into this weekend’s series, Berenson hopes the recent struggles will inspire a newfound hustle in his power play unit.

One key to Michigan’s success with a man advantage has been the team’s ability to win loose pucks and maintain control of the offensive zone.

“It’s not just when you have the puck,” Berenson said. “It’s often what you do when you don’t have the puck. When you dump the puck in their zone, or there’s a loose puck on a face off or when the puck is up for grabs, we’ve got to battle for that puck or we let them dump it down the ice.”

Berenson also believes using two lines with scoring ability will provide his team with an edge over a struggling Ohio State team.

“We have two units which we think are competitive,” Berenson said. “For example, if you’re Ohio State, you might focus on (T.J. Hensick’s) line because he’s a senior and has the most points.

“But it might be Cogliano’s unit that jumps up and bites you. Hopefully if one is not clicking, then the other one is.”

If ever there was a weekend for the power play to find its legs, this may be the one. Ohio State’s penalty kill has struggled all year long and sits at ninth in the CCHA.

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