For the first game of the year, the Michigan Wolverines faced the United States National Team Development Program's Under-18 team. The game was set on January 6th, on a sold out USA Hockey Arena.
This game meant great news for the Michigan hockey team. It was Defenseman Ethan Edwards' first game after an injury. The New Jersey Devils draftee already made a great impact on the team on his first game back. He was out since the beginning of the season, as the need for rehabbing for an off-season injury.
Before this game, four Michigan hockey players had gone to the World Juniors to play for the United States. This was their first game after bringing the gold back to Ann Arbor. Rutger McGroarty, Gavin Brindley, Seamus Casey, and Frank Nazar III played incredibly during the tournament.
The Wolverines were fighting to further their historical lead against the USNTDP team. They were 16-4, and had previously won their last two games.
Michigan hockey started with Jack Barczewski on the goal. Multiple chances came from both teams. And even with some penalties being called, the game remained tied. However, when USNTDP's Noah Lapointe - brother of Umich's Phillipe Lapointe - was called on a hooking penalty, the Wolverines conquered the lead. A power-play goal by TJ Hughes, assisted by Garrett Schifsky and Ethan Edwards.
During the second period, a quick start for the Wolverines allowed them to further the lead. 29 seconds after the beginning of the period, Tyler Duke scored an unassisted goal. After that, Michigan dominated the scoring opportunities. Later into the period, a goalie changed for the Wolverines, getting Noah West on the goal. Even being outshot, the Wolverines kept the 2-0 lead for the remainder of the period.
As the third period started, multiple shots came from both sides. However, it was after another penalty for the USNTDP that produced a goal. On his first game back, Ethan Edwards scored his first goal of the season. He was assisted by TJ Hughes and Dylan Duke. Not even a minute later, Chase Pletzke also found the back of the net. Assisted by Kienan Draper and Mark Estapa. To even further the lead, Ethan Edwards scored once again, making it 5-0. Less than a minute before the end of the game, James Hagens took away the shutout from the Wolverines.
The game ended 5-1, an important win to start the year for the Wolverines.
Up Next For The Wolverines
The Michigan Wolverines will face Stonehill on a double-header, January 12th and 13th, at Yost Ice Arena (Ann Arbor). That will be their last 2023-24 non-conference game.