On The Michigan Wolverines


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Currently ranked # 10 in all the land by both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine, it is the traditional-filled UNIVERSITY OF MICHGIAN WOLVERINES who will be the second of Penn State’s five Big Ten Conference opponents to actually appear in State College at that new athletic facility on campus in University Park which has drawn such spectacular reviews all season long, the $ 88.0 million dollar Pegula Ice Arena.

The jury is still very much out with respect to the top shelf quality of this particular Michigan side, who presently sport the record of thirteen wins against six losses with three ties. The Wolverines did well to dump powerful Boston College 3-1 in the very first contest of their 2013/14 campaign but have also lost to unranked teams such as the University of Nebraska – Omaha and Western Michigan along the way, as well. However, as seen through the eyes of the NCAA standings, which do not recognize the results from the Big Ten Conference’s controversial shootout tie-breakers, Michigan also failed to best league rival Wisconsin in the four-game season series this term as it was the currently # 12 ranked Badgers who gained the upper hand versus the Wolverines with two wins against a single loss and one draw.

And, significantly, Michigan has still not faced-off against the mighty University of Minnesota this season — doubts with respect to whether the Wolverines will truly be able to muster any serious threat to the # 1 ranked Golden Gophers’ grand designs of becoming the very first Big Ten Conference champion in ice hockey history remain high in many quarters.

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Michigan Wolverines left wing ALEX GUPTILL (23) scored 32 goals and totaled 69 points in 79 NCAA games over the course of his first two seasons playing Division I college ice hockey in the United States.
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Michigan’s legendary head coach RED BERENSON has used many different combinations up front this season but the ALEX GUPTILL – J.T. COMPHER – DEREK DEBLOIS trio was put together in the Wolverines’ ninth game against the University of Nebraska – Omaha and has served as the first line in ten of Michigan’s last thirteen contests. Guptill (21 ga, 7 go, 15 pts), the 21-year-old junior from Newmarket, Ontario, who was the third round choice (# 77 overall) of the Dallas Stars at the 2010 National Hockey League Draft, led the Wolverines in goals (16), assists (20) as well as points (36) last season. Compher (22 ga, 9 go, 21 pts), the 18-year-old freshman from Northbrook, Illinois, who was the second round pick (# 35 overall) of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2013 NHL Draft last summer, has recently taken over as Michigan’s scoring leader after notching five points (three goals) in a two-game series with fierce foe Michigan State.

De Blois (22 ga, 4 go, 12 pts), the 22-year-old senior from Narragansett, Rhode Island, who notched 11 goals in 39 games for the Wolverines last season, has seen his production drop this term but did net twice in the game against arch-rival Michigan State at East Lansing two weekends ago.

Michigan’s second line center is ANDREW COPP (22 ga, 10 go, 18 pts), the 19-year-old local kid from Ann Arbor who was the fourth round selection (# 104 overall) of the Winnipeg Jets at the 2013 NHL Draft and a member of the United States squad that appeared at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden earlier this season. Familiar left wing for Copp this season is Canadian legionnaire PHIL DI GIUSEPPE (22 ga, 5 go, 14 pts), the 20-year-old junior from Maple, Ontario, who was snatched in the second round (# 38 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. Slumping CRISTOVAL NIEVES (21 ga, 1 go, 10 pts), the 20-year-old sophomore from Baldwinsville, New York, who was grabbed in the second round (# 59 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers and registered 29 points (eight goals) in 40 games as a freshman for the Wolverines a year ago, has been skating with Copp and Di Giuseppe as of late.

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Michigan Wolverines right wing LUKE MOFFATT (9) has already equaled his career high at the collegiate level having scored eight goals in 21 NCAA games so far this season and, altogether, now counts 27 goals and 39 assists after 135 career NCAA games.
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Canadian legionnaire ZACH HYMAN (22 ga, 2 go, 5 pts), the 21-year-old junior from Toronto, Ontario, who was plucked in the 5th round (# 123 overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers, centers the Wolverines’ third unit. Right wing LUKE MOFFATT (21 ga, 8 go, 16 pts), the 21-year-old senior from Paradise Valley, Arizona, who was taken in the seventh round (# 197 overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, scored two goals in Michigan’s 3-1 victory over Boston College to open this 2013/14 season and is the Wolverines’ third-leading scorer, at present. TYLER MOTTE (22 ga, 7 go, 11 pts), the homegrown 18-year-old freshman from St. Clair who was reserved by the Chicago Black Hawks in the fourth round (# 121 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, had been enduring a bit of a drought after netting four goals in Michigan’s first five games this season but struck in each of the Wolverines’ two games against visiting Wisconsin last weekend.

TRAVIS LYNCH (19 ga, 2 go, 3 pts), the 22-year-old homegrown junior from White Lake, brings a good amount of experience (97 career NCAA games to date) at center to the checking line. JUSTIN SELMAN (11 ga, 1 go, 2 pts), the 20-year-old sophomore left wing from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, who posted 10 points (four goals) in 30 NCAA games as a freshman a year ago, sat out six of Michigan’s first seven games this season as a healthy scratch but has regained a regular place in the line-up since. ALEX KILE (18 ga, 1 go, 3 pts), the 19-year-old homegrown freshman from Troy, has appeared in all but four of the Wolverines’ contests thus far.

EVAN ALLEN (15 ga, 2 go, 3 pts), the 19-year-old homegrown freshman winger from Sterling Heights who scored two goals in his first six collegiate games, has sat out the last three contests in succession but, in sharp contrast, MAX SHUART (5 ga, 0 go, 0 pts), the 19-year-old homegrown freshman from Northville, has skated in four of Michigan’s last seven games after seeing very little action previously.

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Michigan captain MAX BENNETT (22 ga, 2 go, 9 pts, + 14 def rat), the reliable 22-year-old senior from Narragansett, Rhode Island, who was tabbed in the third round (# 74 overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft by the storied Montreal Canadiens, anchors the number one defensive unit. The well-seasoned Bennett has already appeared in 127 NCAA games (12 go, 60 pts, + 42 def rat) to date and is one of the very best blueliners all of Division I college hockey. Bennett’s steady partner virtually this entire season has been MICHAEL DOWNING (22 ga, 1 go, 7 pts, + 7 def rat), the 19-year-old homegrown freshman from Canton who was snapped up by the Florida Panthers in the fourth round (# 97 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Canadian legionnaire BRENNAN SERVILLE (20 ga, 0 go, 1 as, + 1 def rat), the 20-year-old junior from Pickering, Ontario, who was selected by the Winnipeg Jets in the third round (# 78 overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, is the quintessential stay-at-home defenseman for the Wolverines. As matters stand, Serville is the largest (6’3″ 200 lbs) of the Michigan rearguards and has been paired almost exclusively with countryman NOLAN DE JONG (21 ga, 0 go, 5 pts, + 3 def rat), the 18-year-old newcomer from Victoria, Britsh Columbia, who was chosen in the seventh round (# 197 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild. De Jong’s 26 shots on target this season represents the second-highest total among all Wolverines defensemen heading into the Penn State series.

KEVIN CLARE (22 ga, 0 go, 6 pts, -2 def rat), the 21-year-old senior rearguard from New Rochelle, New York, made only nineteen appearances and registered just two assists while posting a minus nine defensive rating as a junior for Michigan last term but has been much improved as well as ever present at the back this season. Clare’s consistent partner for the Wolverines’ first seven games this season was KEVIN LOHAN (7 ga, 0 go, 0 pts, 0 def rat), the promising 20-year-old freshman from Cold Spring Harbor, New York, who injured his knee in an early November non-conference game against intra-state adversary Michigan Tech and was originally projected to be out of action for a period of at least three months. MIKE CHIASSON (7 ga, 0 go, 1 as, + 5 def rat), the 22-year-old junior from Henderson, Nevada, who skated in a combined 60 NCAA games (3 go, 14 pts, + 6 def rat) in his first two seasons with the Wolverines, was tried as the replacement but quickly gave way to former right wing ANDREW SINELLI (14 ga, 0 go, 1 as, – 3 def rat).

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Michigan right wing ANDREW SINELLI (22), the 21-year-old homegrown junior from Dexter who scored three goals and added five assists in 34 NCAA games over the course of his first two campaigns in Ann Arbor, neutralizes Ohio State defenseman JUSTIN DASILVA (25) as Wolverines center ANDREW COPP (18) watches in the background during the Big Ten Conference clash this past fall at the Jerome Schottenstein Center’s Value City Arena in Columbus.
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Despite the fact that the half of the regular Michigan blueline corps these days consists of two teenage freshmen and a converted forward working in front of a first-year starting goaltender who also just so happens to be a freshman on campus in Ann Arbor, it is the nine-time NCAA champion Wolverines who boast a stingy defense (2.23 goals conceded per game) that is currently ranked seventh out of the 59 Division I teams in men’s college ice hockey.

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