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April 02, 2014 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-02

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8A - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Season in review: 2013-14 'M' hockey

position grades
Daily Sports Editor and
Daily Sports Writer
In a season with high highs
and even lower lows, a second
straight Michigan hockey season
without an NCAA Tournament
appearance is tough to swallow.
Despite a talent-filled roster, one
unit's weakness emerged often
enough to overshadow another's
hot streak, and ultimately, the
Wolverines became the first team
out on Selection Sunday.
With hindsight at 20/20, the
Daily grades Michigan's season.
Forwards: The team lacked
a dominant scoring threat
all season, which eventually
cost it a berth in the NCAA
Tournament. Say what you want
about forwards freshman JT
Compher, sophomore Andrew
Copp and junior Alex Guptill, but
they came up short in separating
themselves as elite scoring
options when Michigan needed
one most. That's not to say the
trio isn't loaded with talent, but
the Wolverines never had that
go-to guy up top in late-game
Despite averaging 3.06 goals
per game, the offensive unit could
never string together more than
a few impressive performances
in a row. The Wolverines scored
seven goals in three separate
games throughout the year, and
an abundance of potential was
present from the beginning of
the season. But when the offense
went cold, finding the net was
like trying to dig through ice with
a toothpick.
Grade: B-
Defense: At one point in the
season - the point at which the
Wolverines had only one loss to
blemish a record that included
wins over Boston College and

Boston University - the fledgling
defense was asked to produce
more on offense.
At one point in the season,
freshmenNolanDeJong, Michael
Downing and Kevin Lohan filled
the voids left by former Michigan
defensemen Jacob Trouba and
Jon Merrill, and they did it
admirably. Guided by seniors
Mac Bennett and Kevin Clare,
the unit made an offense that
netted fewer than three goals a
game look good.
But by the end, Michigan's
top four defensemen - Bennett,
Clare, Downing and junior Sinelli
- combined for just 44 points.
Bennett finished with 14 points,
the captain's lowest, total since
his freshman year.
This inexperienced unit was
predicted to be the weak point
for a program that emphasized
defense en route to 22 straight
NCAA Tournament appearances.
But no one could have
predicted defensive blunders
from veteran players. No one
could have foreseen three
turnovers-turned-goals that
turned a 3-1 lead into a 4-3 loss to
the Nittany Lions, just as no one
could have predicted a Bennett
gaffe three weeks later against
the same, lowly opponent.
Grade: C-
Special Teams: One of
the most evident strengths of
Michigan's season was its special
teams play. The power-play unit
ranked 22nd in the nation with a
19.55-percent success rate. Tied
for second in the Big Ten with
eight power-play goals, senior
forward Luke Moffatt played a
pivotal role all season on the man
Meanwhile, the penalty
kill didn't fare quite as well
statistically with an 81.7-percent
success rate, ranking 33rd in the
nation. However, the Wolverines
did accumulate four shorthanded
goals. Three came from Compher
- good for the best mark in the
Big Ten.
At one point in the season,

Michigan surrendered just
two power-play goals despite
taking 21 penalties in a six-game
span. While the impressive
performance on the defensive
end didn't translate into positive
results - the Wolverines went
2-3-0-1 in those games -
Michigan coach Red Berenson
had been preaching consistent
penalty killing. Perhaps that
was the lone consistent effort
his squad displayed for much
of the year, but it was certainly
something to hold in high regard.
Grade: B+
Goaltending: Sixty-three
times in the first round of the Big
Ten Tournament against Penn
State, freshman goaltender Zach
Nagelvoort gave his team another
chance to salvage its season. One
more save and a goal from his
teammates, and the Wolverines
may very well be practicing at
Yost Ice Arena this week.
Instead, Nagelvoort was
screened midway through the
second overtime frame, and his
school record-breaking effort
became the last of his freshman
Without strength at the
position, some of the Wolverines'
nine one-goal wins are losses.
Though the last two years
of Michigan hockey ended
without an NCAA Tournament
appearance, perhaps the most
striking difference between the
2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons was
goaltending. Last season, from
a horse race of disappointing
candidates, then-freshman Steve
Racine emerged as a leader,
taking the Wolverines to a CCHA
final and earning himself the
starting job come September.
But when the sophomore
suffered a groin injury, it seemed
consistency would be a luxury
Michigan couldn't afford for a
second straight season.
In the sophomore's place,
Nagelvoort, a late commit out
of the NAHL, provided coaches
with an almost-happy problem -
two reliable starting goaltenders.

Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson's teams have now failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons.

For much of December and
January, Berenson made his
decisions on a nightly basis,
giving the nod to the goalie who
performed best most recently,
and forcing the two to compete
during the week. After seven
consecutive starts, when it
seemed like Nagelvoort would
be first on the depth chart each
night, a slip-up against Penn
State in February forced him
onto the bench against No. 1
Ultimately, Nagelvoort - who
finished the season with a .929
save percentage, allowing just
2.20 goals per game - established
himself as an elite netminder
along the way and, after weeks of
uncertainty, received the starting
role when it mattered most.
But like this season,
consistency in net came just a
little too late.
Grade: A-

Canteen shining, Hagerup returns

Daily Sports Writer
It may only be a few weeks
into spring football practice, but
the early-enrollees are already
making waXes.
Defensive NOTEBOOK
tackle Bryan
Mone and offensive tackle Mason
Cole have been the talk of the
upperclassmen, but leading the
pack in recent practices is wide
receiver Freddy Canteen, who
has emerged as a viable option in
Michigan's passing game. With
a thin receiving corps, Canteen's
hands and polished route
running are a welcome surprise
for the Wolverines.
Canteen expects to make plays
in the fall and calls himself the
fastestplayer on the team.
"I believe he's the second
fastest, to me," joked freshman
safety Brandon Watson. "But he's
agood playergood routerunner."
Watson and Canteen have
been teammates since the
summer after seventh grade,
and the two decided to continue
the tradition when they both
committed to Michigan on the
same day. But it doesn't end
there - the two friends are also
roommates and have been going
up against each other almost
every day in
practice. -

The Daily looks
back on the best
and worst of the
2013-14 campaign
Daily Sports Editor
It was all going so well, wasn't
it? The Michigan hockey team
was 10-2-2 and had climbed as
high as No. 2 in the national polls.
The Wolverines had stellar goal-
tending, luck and just enough
offense to look like contenders
for both Big Ten and national
You know the rest. On Dec.
27, Western Michigan exposed a
porous defense like no other team
had, adding an emphatic conclu-
sion with the game-winning goal
on a fantastic individual play by
Josh Pitt with 19 seconds remain-
ing in overtime. Thanks to more
surprisingly poor play and some
badly timed bye weeks, the Wol-
verines didn't win a game until
nearly a month later.
Michigan lost to Penn State in
the opening round of the Big Ten
Tournament, finishing the sec-
ond half of the season with a sub-
.500 record that had turned the
Wolverines into a middling team
and placed them squarely on the
NCAA Tournamentbubble.
BEST WIN: It's easy to point
to the Wolverines' 6-2 win over
No. 1 Minnesota on the final day
of the regular season as their
biggest moment of the season.
And, to be fair, Michigan needed
that result to have any chance at
an NCAA Tournament at-large
bid. But the Golden Gophers had
already clinched the Big Ten title
and played like it, taking some of
the luster off of the rout.
In retrospect, the Wolverines'
biggest win was their season-
opening 3-1 triumph over Boston
College. They held the Eagles'
two Hobey Baker Award finalists,
Kevin Hayes and Johnny
Gaudreau, to just four total shots
and no goals. Sophomore forward
Andrew Copp picked up a goal
and two assists for Michigan,
feeding senior forward Luke
Moffatt with a cross-ice pass that
put the team up by two early in
the third period.
WORST LOSS: Here are four
for the price of one.
* Dec. 28: In the consolation
game of the Great Lakes
Invitational, Michigan lays an
egg against Michigan State.
Sophomore goaltender Steve
Racine makes 37 saves, but the
offense stagnates in the 3-0
defeat. If the Wolverines find
a way to win, they likely earn
an at-large bid to the NCAA
Tournament in March.
* Feb. 8: A day after embar-
rassing Penn State, the Nittany
Lions return the favor. Freshman
netminder Zach Nagelvoort sur-

renders three goals on the first
nine shots he faces, and Michi-
gan can't find twine all night as
Penn State picks up its first-ever
Big Ten win, 4-0. If the Wolver-
ines find a way to win, they likely
earn an at-large bid to the NCAA
Tournament in March.
* Feb. 21: With 4.6 seconds
left in regulation, the Nittany
Lions stun the Yost Ice Arena
crowd with a tying goal, and they
eventually finish the overtime
upset, 5-4. If senior defenseman
Mac Bennett clears the puck
instead of making a blind pass,
or Nagelvoort makes one more
save, or the Wolverines put away
the Big Ten's worst team when
they have the chance, they likely
earn an at-large bid to the NCAA
Tournament in March.
* March 20: Needing one win
to all but assure themselves a
spot in the NCAA Tournament,
the Wolverines fall to Penn State
again,2-1, in the first round of the
Big Ten Tournament. In the first
of two overtime periods, Copp
wrists a shot that rattles off the
post and spins on the line but
never fully crosses it. One more
inch and the Wolverines likely
earn an at-large bid to the NCAA
Instead, as Michigan's online
schedule reads, "there are no
upcoming events."
BEST GAME: If any one
game showcased Michigan's
maddening inconsistency, it
was the March 14 meeting with
Minnesota. The Wolverines
took a 2-1 lead into the first
intermission, pouncing on every
Gopher mistake to the delight of
the raucous crowd at Yost. But
Michigan didn't score the rest of
the way and took five penalties in
a 3-2 overtime loss.
The Wolverines demonstrated
their ability to go toe to toe with
the nation's best team. Minnesota
was fighting to clinch first place
in the Big Ten and played like
it, and Michigan still delivered
a blow in the first period. That
scoring touch disappeared in
the final 40 minutes and into
overtime, but the Wolverines
hung on for dear life, coming
just 136 seconds from a tie that
would've likely earned them a
berth in the NCAA Tournament.
no debating this one. With the
season on the line, Nagelvoortset
a program record with 63 saves
against Penn State in the Big
Ten Tournament. The freshman
stood on his head, and Michigan
needed the performance, as it
recovered from an apathetic first
two periods to force overtime.
Nagelvoort did everything
his team could've expected from
him and more, but he didn't
get much help. In 92:47, the
Wolverines only scored once, and
the freshman netminder didn't
see the shot that buried itself in
the twine behind him and ended
Michigan's season.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke met with kicker Will Hagerup regularly to help mentor him following last year's suspension.

responsibilities, but now the
two are battling it out for the
starting position. Wile will also
take the reigns as the starting
place kicker.

After being
for all of last
season due to
a violation of
team policies,
senior punter
Will Hagerup is
practice field.
Hagerup was
Punter of the Ye:
he hasn't seen gar
the 2013 Outback
lothas happened
and a half.
Last season, th
Wile took over

"The people who been good
let owncompetition
I let down moSt between us,"
Hagerup said.
were beginning "i think it's
believe in fun to have
to e(multiple)
" " guys at the
me again. position. He
did a really
good job last
back on the year, and it will be a really good
the Big Ten During his year off, Hagerup
ar in 2012, but had weekly meetings with
me action since Michigan coach Brady Hoke,
Bowl - and a Athletic Director Dave Brandon,
in the last year Director of Athletic Counseling
Greg Harden and a personal
en-junior Matt counselor.
the punting "They gave me multiple

hours per week ... and seeing
them weekly is something I'll
never be able to thank them
for," Hagerup said. "This was
important because it showed
that the people who I let down
most were beginning to believe
in me again. ... Being reinstated
was representative of that trust
being built."
Hoke officially notified
Hagerup that he would be
reinstated for the 2014 season
last May, but the punter had
an entire summer to fill with
football not an option. The
Milwaukee native spent five
weeks working in a steel factory,
an experience he called one of
the most grueling of his life.
early enrollees, wide receiver
Drake Harris and linebacker
Michael Ferns, have both
struggled with hamstring
injuries this spring.
Harris is no stranger to the

injury, having sat out his senior
season with hamstring issues.
After a fast start to practice,
the freshman now finds himself
sidelined the rest of the spring.
"The injury is in a different
place (from high school),"
Harris said. "The way I felt this
time was a lot different than
from high school, soit's nothing
too major."
On the other hand, Ferns has
been able to play through his
injury, has practiced the last
two weeks and plans to play
Saturday in the spring game.
Ferns has seen time at the
weak-side position in practice,
and though the linebacker
corps is arguably the team's
deepest position, he still has
a possibility to see the field
regularly in the fall.
Want year-round football
coverage? Of course you do
It's allon MhicgaDatly toni




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