Ann Arbor – The Big Ten hockey season gets underway this weekend and Michigan plays a series at No. 13 Ohio State, the defending league regular-season champion.
The Wolverines will then host Minnesota Nov. 8-9 before playing a home-and-home series with Michigan State – Thursday, Nov. 14 at Yost with the return game at Munn in East Lansing Nov. 16.
Michigan third-year head coach Mel Pearson has been pleased with his defense, especially sophomore goaltender Strauss Mann, who turned aside all 36 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over Western Michigan last Friday at Yost Arena, also blanking Lake Superior State 4-0 the previous weekend.
Mann has started every game, earning a 3-2-1 record with a 1.82 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.
“Our goaltending has been really solid – that was an issue coming into the year – and so far this year Strauss Mann has been really, really good,” Pearson said.
“It’s been our offense, and I didn’t think that would be an issue, but it has sort of flip-flopped where our offense hasn’t been as good and our defense has been a lot better.”
Michigan is averaging 2.5 goals per game.
Pearson has been impressed with the play of freshman forward Johnny Beecher (goal, three assists) and freshman defenseman Cam York (three assists).
“Beecher and York are elite talents, they are everything as advertised,” Pearson said. “They have been really good, so I can’t say enough about those two guys.”
Senior Will Lockwood (Vancouver) and junior Jack Becker (Boston) each have a team-high three goals for the Wolverines.
Michigan State hosts No. 4 Cornell this weekend, then plays at No. 12 Penn State (4-1-0) Nov. 8-9.