No one likes a liar — and Jason Ryznar is not about to
find out what his coach Red Berenson thinks of one.

Ice Hockey
Senior forward Jason Ryznar has followed through on his promise to come back a better player. He has five points in four games. (Alexander Dziadosz/Daily)

“Ryznar is one of the players, at the end of last year,
that promised me he would come back a different player,”
Berenson said. “And so far, he’s kept that promise.
He’s really working hard; he’s playing physical,
strong, two-way hockey. And that’s what should happen —
seniors should be stepping up.”

The senior forward notched two goals and two assists —
including a penalty shot goal — in this weekend’s
action against No. 8 New Hampshire and St. Lawrence.

Against New Hampshire on Friday night, Ryznar broke a 1-1 tie
late in the first period. Just nine seconds after New Hampshire had
scored the equalizer, sophomore David Rohlfs skated with the puck
across the red line and hit a streaking Ryznar with a pass down the
left side. From the top of the circle, with the defense skating
back, Ryznar fired a wrist shot far side above the glove of New
Hampshire goalie Jeff Pietrasiak.

“Rohlfs made a great play,” Ryznar said. “I
was coming up the side, and I saw the defenseman there, and I tried
to use him as a screen. I just tried to get a shot on net, and it
went in.”

But he wasn’t done. With the Wolverines trailing 2-1 in
the beginning of the third period, Ryznar found the puck behind the
New Hampshire net. He wrapped around with a defender all over him,
drawing the attention of the other Wildcats defensemen and
Pietrasiak. From the side, he spotted fellow senior Eric Nystrom
and slid the puck across the mouth of the goal. Nystrom blasted the
tying goal into the open net.

“I was expecting the pass,” Nystrom said.
“(Ryznar is) one of the stronger kids in college hockey, if
not the strongest, and he’s one of the best corner players.
We’ve been working on a play where he just turns and fires it
at the net. I knew he was going to do it.”

Ryznar and Nystrom played together on the Wolverines’
first line in both games and did not disappoint. The senior duo was
given the unenviable task of slowing New Hampshire’s most
explosive players.

“I think Nystrom did a pretty good job (in his first game)
at center,” Berenson said. “He played against their top
line just about every shift. I felt we had to put our best foot
forward defensively with Nystrom and Ryznar.”

Along with another senior, Michael Woodford Jr., the Wolverine
trio held New Hampshire’s leading scorers to just one
goal.

The experience of the first line could potentially help the
entire Michigan squad heading into CCHA play.

“I think we have the type of line that can set the tempo
for the game,” Nystrom said. “We’re a good
forechecking line, and that’s something that kind of gets the
team going by putting the other team on its heels. If we get a good
forecheck, the next line builds off that. I think that’s
something our line can bring to the table night in and night
out.”

Ryznar added a goal and an assist against St. Lawrence on
Saturday night. He scored a penalty shot goal and assisted on
Nystrom’s empty-net goal.

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