Ice Hockey

Mel Pearson's positivity throughout the Michigan hockey team's early-season rut appears to be paying off.

Looking back, though, brings the necessary clarity. And it’s now crystal clear that there was truth behind Mel Pearson’s optimism during the Michigan hockey team’s early season struggles.

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The seniors were chatting at the back of the bus.

Nick Granowicz scored two goals on Saturday to help Michigan past Penn State.

Michigan Men’s Hockey rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Penn State 5-4 in 2OT this Saturday, but freshman forward Nick Granowicz’s two goals offered added significance to the comeback victory.

Saturday would have been Granowicz’s mother’s 53rd birthday. Despite a slow start to the season, Granowicz has used adversity to motivate him, leading to his first goal last season and his two-goal performance on Saturday.

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But with 12 seconds left in three-on-three double overtime, sophomore forward Garrett Van Wyhe found the puck on his stick with no one in front of him.

His wrister flipped up over Autio’s shoulder, and while the rest of the building went silent, there was an explosion on Michigan’s bench. The goal exorcised the demons of close but not quite, of being right there and just missing.

Johnny Beecher scored Michigan's third goal in a win over Penn State on Friday.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Waiting all alone in the slot, Johnny Beecher tapped the blade of his stick against the ice to get Will Lockwood’s attention.

Jake Slaker scored Michigan's first goal in a 6-0 win over Penn State.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Johnny Beecher lifted his arms and opened them in celebration. 

Sophomore forward Jimmy Lambert focused on his defensive game in the first half of the year when his offensive production dipped.

During the middle of November, Lambert switched positions from right wing to center. While not a transition he’d been anticipating, the Michigan coaches make sure their forwards are prepared to play in whatever role the team calls upon them to play. Despite this expectation, having the trust of the coaches to fill a gap in the lineup gave Lambert a confidence boost he’d been in search of.

Due to his recent lack of success, junior forward Dakota Raabe was kept out of last weekend’s lineup against Notre Dame.

There was no jersey embroidered with the number 12 left to greet Dakota Raabe, the then-freshman forward. Bags filled with his equipment laid to the side. There were no helmet or pads hanging in the top-shelf bins.

Michigan coach Mel Pearson is hoping that getting a second shot at familiar opponents can help spark a turnaround.

The Michigan hockey team is now in the second half of its season, and that second half implies quite a bit of preparation. 

Sophomore defenseman Nick Blankenburg scored the game-tying goal against Notre Dame on Saturday.

Mel Pearson has spent the last couple of weeks emphasizing Michigan’s need to get more offensive output from its defensemen. In Saturday night’s win over then-No. 14 Notre Dame, Pearson saw what he’d been pushing come to fruition.