Ice Hockey

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EAST LANSING — It took just under two minutes for the game to completely slip away.

In those brief 104 seconds, the Michigan hockey team collapsed. 

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EAST LANSING — Kris Mayotte turned to Mel Pearson on the bench, and with a grim expression on his face, the assistant coach — in charge of goaltending — shouted one word, or rather, one name.

“Hayden!”

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Standing with his arms crossed and his head down, Nick Blankenburg let out a deep sigh.

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With just over a minute left in the opening period, the Michigan hockey team (3-6-2 overall, 0-4-1-0 Big Ten) positioned itself in the offensive zone looking to generate a chance before the first intermission ended quietly against Michigan State (4-5-0, 2-1-0-0). Sophomore forward Jimmy Lambert found the puck near the left boards and turned to make a pass back to freshman defenseman Cam York, but the pass sailed wide and past the blue line thus wasting the possession.

The Michigan hockey team is gearing up for a rivalry weekend against Michigan State where historically, the series is either team's for taking.

In the midst of offensive struggles for the Wolverines, the series against Michigan State represents an opportunity to get the team's offensive flow back.

Even Michigan State coach Danton Cole mentioned Michigan’s struggles can be attributed to "puck luck."

The underlying trend is that despite the lack of scoring, the offense has made strides since the loss against Western Michigan. All the while, defense and goaltending have remained steady. If the offense continues to make strides and the defense remains stingy, then it’s logical that better bounces could help this team unleash its potential.

Michigan coach Mel Pearson believes Michigan is close to getting past its power play struggles.

Against Minnesota, the Wolverines went 0-for-9 on power plays, reflecting the pains of their overall lack of offensive production for the weekend. Four of the man-advantages went without a single shot on goal for Michigan. The team just couldn’t find a breakthrough on offensive special teams.

Sophomore goaltender Strauss Mann was the backbone of Michigan's defense against Minnesota.

If any of those bounces went another way, the game could have had a different tone. Thus there is weight behind the saying. But this raises the question, what kept the game close to begin with? And the answer to that is, undoubtedly, the defensive effort.

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Johnny Beecher’s body language said it all.

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The game was right there on Jimmy Lambert’s stick.