Ice Hockey

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DETROIT — Michael Pastujov skated along the boards at center ice with the puck on his stick. 

He looked up, then he looked left. 

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DETROIT — Jake Slaker didn’t hesitate.

The senior forward received a pass across the crease from freshman forward Eric Ciccolini and, in an instant, Slaker buried the puck behind Ferris State goaltender Austin Shaw to give the Michigan hockey team the lead, 1-0, in the first period.

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The Daily hockey beat used to run a video series during the 2011-12 season called “Quick Hits.” They were one-on-one interviews with players that covered everyday life and all of its funny moments. But now, for budget reasons, it’s in written format.

The Michigan hockey team has suffered from an anemic offense thus far.

One game past the halfway point of this season, it’s no secret that the Michigan hockey team’s year hasn’t gone to plan. At 6-10-2 overall and 2-7-1 in the Big Ten, the Wolverines are nowhere close to what they expected of themselves entering the season.

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Standing just below the left circle, Michael Pastujov received a pass from Jacob Hayhurst behind the net. In an instant, without wasting time settling the puck for a shot, Pastujov snapped a wrist shot toward the mouth of the goal.

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Almost. 

Cam York scored as Michigan beat Penn State, 4-1, on Saturday.

Cam York had crouched and thrown a fist bump, leaping into the air. He had jumped into the arms of his teammates. He had gone over to receive congratulations from each of his teammates on the bench.

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Heading into Friday night’s game against No. 6 Penn State (11-5-0 overall, 6-3-0 Big Ten), the supposed narrative was clear for the Michigan hockey team (6-9-2, 2-6-1).

Nick Blankenburg started standing over a second-floor railing at Yost because his grandfather sat below.

When the sophomore defenseman played his first game at Yost last October, he wasn’t sure where he was going to stand to stretch and visualize before the game. He gravitated toward the left side of the building, and he found the railing over there. And then he looked down and realized his grandfather — Richard Orkisz, better known as Pops — had the seats just below the railing, in the corner, on the glass.

Senior defenseman Griffin Luce hopes to limit Penn State's chances this weekend.

The Nittany Lions are an imposing group. They returned their top five scorers from last season and have scored 4.6 goals a game, which ranks second in the nation. Last year’s team had similar offensive success but was tarnished by one of the nation’s worst defenses. A lot has changed since then, though. Penn State is ranked 19th in goals against, allowing 2.4 a night — a substantial difference from 3.56 last season. And with that improvement, Michigan is slated for a challenging weekend. Fortunately for the Wolverines, their defensive unit has been one of the lone bright spots throughout this season. They’ll need to build off that to make the most out of the series.