MARQUETTE – It has been a recurring theme for the Michigan hockey team this season: The same weekend that anyone returns from an injury, another player seems destined to go down.
Forward Michael Woodford tore the ligaments in his thumb in his second shift during Friday night’s 5-2 loss to Northern Michigan. It was the same game in which captain Jed Ortmeyer returned for the first time since Nov. 8.
Woodford will have to wait for further X-rays in Ann Arbor to determine if the bone in his thumb is also broken, which might require surgery.
“It’s real disappointing,” Woodford said. “After losing a game like that (Friday night), you want to be back. The positive is, you know, it’s our last game for essentially a month so I have some time to rest. If there was any time to have the injury, I guess it would be now.”
Back on Nov. 8 and 9, Michigan got two of their injured captains back from injury – Andy Burnes and John Shouneyia. But Ortmeyer tore his MCL on Friday night of that weekend and was out for three weeks.
On the season, the Wolverines have yet to play a game with their full roster available. Jason Ryznar didn’t make the trip to Marquette this weekend due to a nagging shoulder injury.
“It just seems like every weekend there’s a new injury,” Woodford said. “I think coach is kind of getting frustrated at it. I think the team is getting frustrated with it.”
The sophomore was optimistic that the second half of the season would provide some better luck.
“When we do have our whole team, it could be a scary thing,” Woodford said. “Right now we’re just hitting some bumps in the road. But I think in the long run, once everyone gets healthy, we’ll be ready to go.”
Where he left off: In his return on Friday, Ortmeyer didn’t miss a beat.
Even though the Omaha native didn’t record a point, he helped create a number of scoring chances for Michigan – especially on the powerplay.
“I think he’ll be a little better with the puck as he gets in game shape,” coach Red Berenson said of Ortmeyer. “But he was fine. Physically he was great. Emotionally, it was good for our team.”
Say what?: Before the game, Northern Michigan honored Independence Day.
Not that school officials mistook the freezing temperatures and feet of accumulated snow for July 4. At the request of the Wildcats’ two Finnish players, the school played that country’s national anthem to honor their national holiday.
Both freshman defenseman Juha Alen and backup goalie Tuomas Tarkki were born in the Scandanavian country.