Midway through the second frame on Friday night at Yost Ice Arena, JT Compher held the puck on his stick with what looked to be an easy shot for the touted sophomore center.

But instead of shooting, Compher looked to his left, at his linemate sophomore Max Shuart, and passed. Shuart’s shot became the second goal of his career. Compher is without a goal in nine games.

“He’s going to pass the puck,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “He sees good plays and he makes them. He gave those wingers, literally gave, them goals.”

Having scattered just nine goals in five losses this season, the Michigan hockey team found twine 11 times in two wins over American International last weekend.

The sweep — which pushed the Wolverines’ record to a more respectable 4-5 against non-conference competition — featured tallies from proven scorers as well as role players, a sign the unit is emerging from a seven-game drought.

Though Compher — the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Michigan’s Most Valuable player last year — has struggled to find twine this season, his presence has sparked offense in his linemates.

“At times at center, you’re not finding the back of the net and you feel like you should just start making plays,” said junior forward Boo Nieves — who made the transition from center to right wing this month. “But then you get that one lucky shot and it goes in.”

So while Compher and skaters like him work toward peak performance, the Wolverines will rely on role players to step into a more prominent offensive position.

Among those is senior center Travis Lynch, who had his first career multi-goal game Saturday, scoring twice and matching his career-high for points in a game despite the fourth line seeing limited minutes in the third period. A feature of the penalty kill more than anything else, Lynch is off to his best start in four seasons, having scored three goals in nine games after tallying just two in 29 starts last season.

“It’s my senior year, I might as well make the most of it,” Lynch said. “If I don’t find the back of the net, that’s totally fine. I’m not used to playing that role at all. I’m used to playing PK, faceoffs, D-zone, so I really just try to focus on that. If I have an offensive role with the team, whatever helps is what I need to do.”

Lynch’s former linemate, Shuart is also contributing on offense for the first time in his career. Shuart, who went pointless in 11 appearances last season, scored his first career goal against Michigan Tech and finished last weekend with a goal and an assist. Compher and Shuart found Nieves in the slot midway through the second period on Saturday.

It was Nieves’ first goal since netting Michigan’s only goal against Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament last March.

Meanwhile, sophomore defenseman Kevin Lohan notched his first career goal in Friday’s 5-2 win over the Yellow Jackets and added an assist Saturday, upping his plus/minus rating to plus-4 on the season.

“Everyone wants to help the team,” Berenson said. “You don’t know how you’re going to help on a given game, but when it works out that way, then good.”

That doesn’t mean the Wolverines can bank on blue-line shots like Lohan’s finding their way past Big Ten goaltenders. They’ll need Compher and junior forward Andrew Copp to be there in front to deflect goals in.

Copp scored twice on Friday before adding a highlight-worthy, power-play goal in the third period Saturday. Last season’s No. 2 goal scorer, Copp is back on pace to lead Michigan in scoring.

Along with sophomore forward Alex Kile — who also scored his fourth goal Saturday — and senior forward Zach Hyman, Copp is now tied for the team lead. On the same line, Kile and Hyman have combined for 19 points on 43 shots this season.

Like Compher, Copp struggled before the bye week. He netted his first goal of the season on Oct. 31 against Michigan Tech. It should only be a matter of time before Compher, a second-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, follows suit.

In the meantime, role players will need to step up on offense.

“I know JT can score, and he will score,” Berenson said. “He doesn’t need to worry about scoring, he just needs to worry about is he getting chances, is he playing hard, is his line playing well. … If they are, then it’s just a matter of time for him to break out.”

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