Before the start of the Michigan hockey season, nobody including coach Red Berenson knew who would supply the offense after the premature departure of Hobey Baker Award finalist Andy Hilbert. Most expected junior Mike Cammalleri to shoulder the load, with help from last season”s third leading scorer John Shouneyia and new team captain Jed Ortmeyer.
Although those veterans have done their part thus far, the Wolverines have received an offensive boost from a surprising and unexpected source freshman forward Jason Ryznar.
“Jason”s gotten off to a strong start,” Berenson said. “From day one of practice, he has shown a lot of confidence, desire and hustle. He fit in right away because he was in sync with the speed of Division I hockey.”
Ryznar”s early-season success began at the “Cold War” against Michigan State two weeks ago when he recorded three points a goal in the first period to tie the score at one, and an assist on each of Cammalleri”s two goals.
He also added another goal in Michigan”s 6-3 win over Providence this past weekend and is currently second on the team in scoring with four points.
Ryznar attributes most of his success to his linemates.Cammalleri assisted on his goal against Michigan State, and Ortmeyer assisted on his goal against Providence.
“When you”re playing with guys like Cammalleri and Ortmeyer, you”re destined to get some points out there,” Ryznar said.
In order to stay relaxed and focused on the ice, Ryznar says that he focuses on the basics.
“I just try to play every game like it”s a normal game. It doesn”t matter who the opponent is, I just have to keep it simple and play hockey. I think that once you get that first goal, it becomes a lot easier because you can just play your game.”
“He”s done all the things that he”s good at,” Berenson said. He”s been strong along the boards, he”s been able to control the puck down low, and he”s passed the puck well. Also, he”s taken advantage of his scoring chances.”
With the addition of Ryznar, the Wolverines” first line has the potential to be one of the best offensive lines in the CCHA. Already, the line has tallied six goals and six assists.
Having already responded well in high-pressure situations, Ryznar is looking forward to the upcoming weekend against Western Michigan, which should prove to be a very demanding series for both clubs.
“I think it will be a good chance for us to have a good game and to work hard,” Ryznar said. “Western is not a team to be taken lightly, and we will have to play our best if we want to win.”