- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
Michigan to Head to No. 11 Minnesota for Battle of Top Two Big Ten Teams - University of Michigan Athletics
The No. 3-ranked University of Michigan ice hockey team (18-6-1, 9-5-0 Big Ten) looks to create space in the Big Ten standings as it heads to No. 11 Minnesot...
• Michigan is 18-6-1 after sweeping Penn State last weekend to move back into first place in the Big Ten standings.
• The Wolverines are ranked No. 3 in USCHO poll and No. 4 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
• Brendan Brisson is Michigan's leading goal-scorer with 15 tallies in addition to 15 assists. Tied with Brisson at a team-high 30 points is Matty Beniers with 14 goals and 16 assists. One point back, Kent Johnson has six goals and a team-high 23 assists in just 21 games played. Defenseman Owen Power (3G, 21A), the nation's highest-scoring blueliner, has 24 points, while newcomer Luke Hughes also has been a standout, scoring nine goals with 13 assists for 22 points as the top scoring freshman defender in the nation. Last year's leading scorer, Thomas Bordeleau (6G, 15A) is currently sixth.
• Owen Power and senior captain Nick Blankenburg lead U-M in blocked shots with 30 apiece.
• Sophomore Erik Portillo has started every game in net for the Wolverines, assembling an 18-6-1 record with two shutouts, a .921 save percentage, and a 2.31 goals-against average.
This week's series with Minnesota will mark the 295th and 296th meetings between the two storied programs. The Gophers hold a 146-129-19 advantage in the all-time series. The teams split their series earlier in the season at Yost with Minnesota taking the opener 5-1 (Dec. 3) before Michigan earned a 6-2 victory in the finale (Dec. 4).
Scouting the Golden Gophers
• The 11th-ranked Golden Gophers are 13-9 this season after splitting a pair with Alaska-Fairbanks last weekend.
• Minnesota's attack is led by two U.S. Olympians, with Ben Meyers leading across the board in scoring at nine goals, 15 assists, and 24 points, with freshman Matthew Knies (8G, 14A) two points behind. The duo, along with defenseman Brock Faber, will join four current and former Wolverines in representing Team USA in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Seniors Blake McLaughlin (7G, 14A) and Sammy Walker (8G, 8A) also play critical, top-six roles.
• On the blue line, a balanced and talent-laden group including Faber (2G, 9A), Ryan Johnson (2G, 9A), and Jackson LaCombe (1G, 10A) form an outstanding defense corps along with defensive stalwart Ben Brinkman (5A) and Michigander Matt Staudacher (3A).
• With Jack LaFontaine's NHL signing, senior Justen Close skates into the crease as the team's No. 1 goaltender. Close has a .902 save percentage along with a 2.04 goals-against average