Plus-minus ratings don’t necessarily tell the whole story of a hockey player’s performance — a particular individual may just be fortunate or unfortunate enough to be on the ice for a goal or a goal against.

For Michigan hockey defenseman Steve Kampfer, that certainly wasn’t the case after his second career plus-six rating this past Saturday against Lake Superior State.

But Kampfer remains modest about his career numbers.

“Obviously, at the end of the game (on Saturday) you realize that it’s kind of fluky,” Kampfer said. “You get the bounces your way a certain night. One night you might be minus two, but some nights you’ll have a good night. It’s lucky but you just want the team to win.”

According to Michigan coach Red Berenson, Kampfer is having his best season donning the maize and blue.

In his final year in Ann Arbor, the Jackson native has registered a career-high 18 points and is the team’s top-rated defensemen with a plus-12 line. He also leads the defensive corps in shots on goal, a testament to his heightened level of involvement on the power play, where he’s found ways to get pucks on net through traffic.

“This year has been my best year so far,” Kampfer said. “I’ve tried to focus more on defense and let that translate into offense. I think I’ve been playing solid defensively as of late, and it’s been getting my offensive numbers up. Obviously, when you’re out there you want to be a plus.”

Heading into this weekend’s best-of-three CCHA quarterfinal series at Michigan State, Kampfer’s minutes could potentially increase with the loss of senior defenseman Chris Summers to what Berenson is calling a lower body injury. Kampfer emphasized how the team will have to lock down even more defensively with the loss of the Phoenix Coyote draftee.

Throughout the season, the team has coughed up pucks in the defensive zone, leading to point-blank opportunities for opposing teams and has been victim to a plethora of odd-man rushes as well, particularly against the Spartans in previous matchups. Berenson reiterated that if the Wolverines can play “as close to mistake-free hockey” defensively and capitalize on its offensive chances, the team will be in pretty decent shape.

And for Kampfer — who had to deal with on-the-ice issues last season with the Spartans, when Andrew Conboy and Corey Tropp viciously attacked him — this series is his last hoorah against the intrastate rivals. After Michigan lost three of four games to the Spartans this year, the Wolverines will look toward Kampfer to head the blueliners as they look to cap a late-season CCHA playoff run with a berth in the CCHA semifinals next weekend.

“I’ve seen him grow this year and take responsibility,” Berenson said. “I’ve seen his game come together with the puck and without the puck. That’s what college should be about. You start here, and then — it’s not always a perfect scenario — but you end up in the right place.”

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