B1G Ten Hockey Tournament Preview: #3 Michigan

Leon Halip

We continue our trek across the B1G Ten hockey conference and now find ourselves in the land of contenders.

I’ve made this point before, but until they prove me wrong I’m just going to keep making it: on a given night you have no way of predicting if Michigan will be a very good team or an average/below average team. Sometimes they’re one team on Friday and the other team on Saturday.

Defensively, Michigan joins Ohio State at the league average of 2.75 goals against. Freshman goaltender Zach Nagelvoort probably gives this team the best chance to win night in and night out, but Coach Berenson has shown a reluctance to just hand him the job outright. Sophomore Steve Racine has seen a lot of action, even though his numbers trail Nagelvoort’s.

Last weekend, the Wolverines did a decent job of holding Minnesota’s offense down, but five goals against was only good enough for a split.

Michigan separates itself from the conference average when it comes to scoring: they pot almost three goals per game (2.95). In a league where scoring generally comes at a premium, that number alone was enough to lift Michigan into the upper half of the table and finish with a comfortable six point lead over Ohio State.

Michigan is the first team we’ve covered with a real chance at winning this tournament. They’re also the only team with a chance who has to win three consecutive games to do so. Those games come against Penn State (who seemingly knows how to beat the Wolverines), Wisconsin (a potential #1 seed in the NCAA tournament), and possibly a Minnesota team who has been the #1 ranked team in the country for the majority of the year; a tall order.

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