Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wolverines Back on Track

Earlier this season I wrote about what was wrong with the University of Michigan. Following a 4-3 loss at Alaska Fairbanks on Nov. 27, the Wolverines were just 7-8-2 overall less than eight months after coming within an overtime goal of a national championship.

Fast forward almost two months from that game in Fairbanks, and whatever ailed the Wolverines seems to have been cured. A 4-1 win over Ohio State outdoors at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Sunday completed a weekend sweep of the rival Buckeyes and left U-M with an overall mark of 14-9-4 overall.

Since a split at Alaska, and prior to last night's 3-1 setback at Notre Dame, Michigan had gone 7-0-2, including yet another Great Lakes Invitational title in December in Detroit when they bested both Boston College and Michigan State in back-to-back contests.

The return of defenseman Jon Merrill from a semester-long suspension has helped. So has the formation of a forward line of NHL draft choices in senior David Wohlberg, freshman Alex Guptill, and junior Chris Brown, who have 25 points apiece this season to lead all Wolverine scorers. Senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick has been steady in net, and is 14-8-3 this winter with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .926save percentage.

Michigan was also seventh in the nation in goals scored per game (3.44), and 11th in goals given up per outing (2.41). The Wolverines were also ranked seventh in NCAA Division I in the latest Pairwise Rankings, and should be in good shape to both compete for a CCHA crown and extend an NCAA Tournament streak that began back in 1991.

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