If Michigan hopes to make an NCAA Tournament appearance, it will need to begin coming out of weekends with more than three points.
The Wolverines can start by sweeping the Gophers, who are in third place –– three points ahead of Michigan –– in the Big Ten standings. By picking up their first sweep, the Wolverines will leave the company of Penn State as the only Big Ten teams without one.
Two years ago, Nick Blankenburg was a forward. Two weeks ago, the freshman was a defensive force on the blue line against Ohio State.
But two days from now, the freshman will more than just go back to his roots — during practice on Tuesday, Blankenburg skated with Michigan’s top line for the first time since converting back to being a forward.
To say the Michigan hockey team’s defense has been inconsistent this season is an understatement. The Wolverines have given up the fourth-most goals in the Big Ten this season with 77 goals against — 24 more than No. 4 Ohio State, which has allowed the fewest goals in the conference.
But amid all that inconsistency, junior defensemen Luke Martin and Griffin Luce have backstopped an up-and-down group of blueliners.
NEW YORK CITY — Quinn Hughes went into the locker room and turned to the team. After a poor showing defensively, Hughes did what he had to do. He was accountable for his sloppiness in Saturday’s game against No. 15 Penn State, one that the Michigan hockey team lost, 5-2, with the sophomore defenseman at the epicenter.
Lavigne sprawled out to make the save as Limoges wound his way to the front of the crease, waiting to shoot the puck until Lavigne was flat on the ice. One quick flip of his stick later and Penn State led 5-1.
Though Michigan tacked on another goal in the third period, the comeback came up short. The Nittany Lions went on to take the second game of the series, 5-2.
At the end of that stretch, the game was effectively over. The Michigan hockey team drained any momentum Penn State had left, scoring three goals in under a minute to extend its lead to 4-0 with 5:47 remaining in the second period.