Ann Arbor — Red Berenson has enjoyed watching his share of great players since becoming head coach at Michigan in 1984, the same year the Tigers last won the World Series.
Berenson has a pair of Hobey Baker award winners in Brendan Morrison, who scored the winning goal in the national championship game 20 years ago, and Kevin Porter, but even they didn’t accomplish the streak that junior Tyler Motte has put together.
Motte has scored at least a goal in each of his last 12 games, a record in the Berenson era. He leads the nation with 28 goals, teaming up on a line with junior captain JT Compher and freshman phenom Kyle Connor, who leads the nation in scoring (51 points).
“I can’t tell you that he’s the most gifted scorer that I’ve had, but he works hard every game and the puck’s going in for him, everything he touches is going in so it’s one of those things, a great streak,” said Berenson of Motte, who scored nine goals in each of his freshman and sophomore seasons. “The good thing is they (Motte, Compher, Connor) all move the puck, they are all unselfish so it’s not like they’re feeding just one player. They are all getting their chances and going in for Tyler.”
The puck is also going in for Connor, who has 24 goals this season. Motte and Connor could become Michigan's first 30-goal scorers since Porter and Chad Kolarik each scored 30 or more in 2008, when the Wolverines carried the No. 1 ranking into the Frozen Four, losing a semifinal game to Notre Dame in overtime.
Motte has scored 17 goals during the 12-game stretch, Connor 14 goals, and Compher eight goals and 18 assists.
The No. 6 Wolverines (19-4-5, 9-2-3) are 9-1-2 during the last dozen games and will be playing No. 20 Minnesota (16-13, 11-3) in a battle for first place in the Big Ten. The series begins Thursday night in Minneapolis (BTN).
“We have something to prove,” Berenson said of the series, which concludes Friday night.
Motte is ready to help the Wolverines prove they are the elite team in the Big Ten.
“You can really feel the energy in the room when everyone is playing with confidence like we are right now,” Motte said. “It’s a big weekend series and we’re ready to play. It would be huge for us (to sweep) to put ourselves in a situation where you can kind of control your own destiny during the last two weekends.”
The Wolverines are putting themselves in position to earn their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012.
Motte said he didn’t know he was Berenson’s first player to have a 12-game goal-scoring streak.
“I didn’t even know that stat until you told me,” Motte said. “Like I’ve said before, I credit my linemates and my teammates, they are really the ones that deserve the credit since they give me the opportunity, working hard in the corners, they’re playing the 200-foot game, they’re really putting me in position to succeed and I think they’ve found their own success in those roles as well.”