Michigan Hockey On A Tear Offensively
Over the last two weeks, Michigan has gone 3-0-1, accumulating 11 of 12 possible Big Ten points thanks to an extra point with a double-overtime 3-on-3 victory Jan. 18 (officially it goes down as a tie). U-M took down Notre Dame 3-0 and 3-1 on the road and then picked up another road series win with a 6-0 blanking of Penn State and the 5-4 2OT victory.
The biggest difference for Michigan the last couple of weeks has been an offensive explosion that the Wolverines had been desperate for. The Maize and Blue are averaging more than four goals per game over their current four-game streak. Before this stretch, Michigan had been averaging 2.1 goals per game on the season.
The cohesion between the lines for the Wolverines has sparked this recent surge in goal output. This can also be attributed to better health for Michigan compared to early in the season, but a lot of it has come down to the offense doing a better job of finishing off attacking chances.
The Patsujov brothers — senior Nick and junior Michael — are currently playing on the same line, which has come in spurts over the past couple of years. Sophomores Garrett Van Whye and Nolan Moyle have also found success matching up. However, the biggest difference has come from the line of freshmen Johnny Beecher and Nick Granowicz combining with senior Will Lockwood.
"Beecher is not a freshman anymore. I think he learned some things the first half of the year, and a lot of times you see the growth in those young players and I think we’re going to see that from Johnny," said Michigan head coach Mel Pearson on ‘Inside the Huddle with Michael Spath.’ "He looked really really good both weekends. Him and Will have some real chemistry. Granowicz had two goals playing with them, and that line is very very good."
Another line combination that has shined for the Wolverines is sophomore Jimmy Lambert, senior Jake Slaker and junior Luke Morgan. Seamlessly fitting together, Lambert and Slaker have provided an uptick in goals as Morgan does the dirty work from the right wing that frees his linemates for better opportunities.
“You wish you had one a Morgan on every line,” Pearson said. “He’s a really good skater, he’s strong, his work ethic is second-to-none. He can play in all situations, he can take faceoffs, he’s physical, he gives you everything you want.
"We’re starting to get some of everything, and that’s the beauty and that’s why it’s so exciting. The first half of the year we tried a lot of things. You’re just trying to figure out what you have. We played well in the first half, we just couldn’t score. We’re still not scoring on our best chances, and when we start to do that, we’re getting some synergy and some chemistry, which is what you want.”