The Michigan hockey team has one of the most prolific offenses in the country. The team is averaging 4.06 goals per game this season, which is second in the nation only to Denver. But somehow Michigan doesn’t have a single player sitting in the top-15 in the nation in goals or points.
That’s because the Wolverines haven’t had to use any one player as a crutch. They are led in goal-scoring by sophomore T.J. Hensick and junior Jeff Tambellini, each of whom has just eight goals on the season. Tambellini led Michigan in 2002-03, and Hensick led the team last season. So it was expected that they would produce. But every forward in the lineup has at least two goals.
Going into Friday night’s game against Notre Dame, Michigan forwards had scored 44 perfectly distributed goals. Each of the four Wolverines lines had scored exactly 11 goals.
“That’s not by design,” coach Red Berenson said. “But it shows that top to bottom, offensively, we’re doing well. And that gives our team a chance.”
Berenson said that this season is unlike previous seasons when the team may have counted on one line in particular to score.
“It just shows the depth that we have here and the overall talent,” Tambellini said. “Every guy on this team can put the puck in the net.”
Last weekend was just another example of Michigan’s ability to get everyone on the team involved in the scoring. Each of the goals in Friday’s 6-1 win over the Irish was scored by a different Wolverine. Saturday wasn’t much different, as six different goal-scorers combined for the eight Michigan goals.
Tambellini was one of two players to score multiple goals on Saturday — the other was freshman Kevin Porter. Earlier in the season, Tambellini carried the team when he scored five goals in a series sweep of Miami (OH).
“Every team has players that are capable of scoring two, three goals in a game, but they’re not going to do it every game,” Berenson said. “So you need to have more than one player who is capable of scoring. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Tambellini said that he doesn’t care who scores the goals as long as the puck is finding the twine for the Wolverines. But he added that the excitement in the locker room after the weekend sweep of Notre Dame was pretty high because of the team’s ability to get a lot of players going.
“There aren’t a lot of teams around the country that can score 14 goals in a weekend and disperse it around the entire lineup,” Tambellini said.
Injury Report: While playing in South Bend during Michigan’s 8-0 victory on Saturday, sophomore defenseman Tim Cook hurt his shoulder and had to sit out the third period. He didn’t participate in practice either of the last two days, and Berenson said that his status was still in doubt for this weekend’s series against Bowling Green.
“(Cook) is day-to-day,” Berenson said yesterday after practice. “We’ll get a better idea tomorrow, whether or not. If he doesn’t practice, he won’t play. He’s got a dinged-up shoulder, so we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Three other players who didn’t practice on Monday — forwards Brandon Kaleniecki, Mike Brown and David Moss — all participated yesterday. Berenson said that they all looked good and would play this weekend.
Notes: Michigan had two players named CCHA Players of the Week after the team’s sweep of Notre Dame. Senior alternate captain Brandon Rogers was named Defensive Player of the Week and freshman Kevin Porter received the award for Rookie of the Week. Rogers’s plus-three rating tied him for the team lead, and Porter scored two goals and tallied three assists on the weekend. For both Porter and Rogers, this was their first weekly honor of the season.