Coach Red Berenson always says that if you don’t notice a defenseman on the ice during a game, it probably means he is doing his job. With his quiet demeanor and focus on protecting his own zone, Mike Roemensky hasn’t attracted much attention, but he has become one of Michigan’s most reliable blueliners.
“There’s no doubt, he is a core guy for us,” said assistant coach Billy Powers, who works mainly with the defense. “We’re putting a lot on his shoulders in terms of playing against the other teams’ best players, playing a lot of quality minutes (and) hard penalty killing minutes.”
Roemensky has eight points (two goals and six assists) and his plus-14 ties him for second on the team in plus-minus rating. He is even starting to earn some recognition across the league, as he was named CCHA Defensive Player of the Week on Feb. 24 after he finished plus-five in Michigan’s sweep of Nebraska-Omaha.
It has been quite a turnaround from his junior year.
After damaging ankle ligaments early last season, the White Lake Township native never got comfortable and notched just two points while registering a minus-eight rating. He said that season “was really tough to deal with” and getting his confidence back has been the difference-maker in his season of redemption.
Although he’ll readily admit he’s not a vocal leader on the team, Roemensky is the lone senior among a youthful defensive corps, and he relished the opportunity to take on a bigger role after star defenseman Mike Komisarek left for the pros last summer.
“It is definitely motivation,” Roemensky said. “Last year we had guys like Komisarek that we were counting on every night, and now that he’s gone, they’re looking at me, as a senior, to be a leader and to be a dominant player out there, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Roemensky would like to continue his hockey career after college, and Powers thinks that senior urgency has factored into his strong final season.
“You’re playing for an opportunity to play beyond Michigan, and he’s undrafted … so I think deep down Roe knows if he wants to have a chance, not only to have his best year at Michigan, but to give himself an opportunity somewhere, he needs to play like that every night,” Powers said.
The end of Roemensky’s Michigan career is fast approaching, and he said he’s well aware of it.
“I’m not dwelling on it; I’m just trying to make sure I’m realizing it on game nights – that the opportunities are here and I’ve got to take advantage of them,” Roemensky said.