Top draft selects Michigan hockey in defeating Michigan State
ANN ARBOR – Michigan’s hockey team made history in July with four players drafted in the first five picks of the NHL draft.
All four showed why they were high draft picks on Friday, scoring 10 points in the 7-2 win over Michigan State at the Yost Ice Arena.
Matty Beniers in 2. The Jersey Devils recorded three assists.
Hughes also had an assist while second defender added two assists to Owen Power, the Buffalo Sabers’ top pick. All four have at least seven points for the No. 3 Michigan (7-2, 2-1 Big Ten) this season.
“You are great,” said head coach Mel Pearson. “You are driven. You want to win. Most of the time, they are doing the right thing. Sometimes they drive me a little crazy because they try some things and it doesn’t work. But you have to give talented players the opportunity to play the game. We always have here in Michigan. I think they do a really good job. You lead our team for good reason because of your skill and creativity in the point scoring. “
The Wolverines have been plagued by slow starts for the past two weeks, but they found their stride early Friday.
Beniers hit 3:36 in and took advantage of a rash line change by the Spartans. Johnson fed Beniers three-on-one and beat Pierce Charleson on the blocker side.
Then, just over seven minutes later, Johnson set Beniers on a one-timer for a five-on-three power play goal.
After sustained pressure in the last minute of the first period, the Spartans (4-4-1, 1-2) scored 16 seconds before the end. They carried the momentum into the second half with a lot of pressure for the first 10 minutes, but the Wolverines began to take over in the second half of the period. Sophomore Brendan Brisson, a 2020 first-round pick for the Golden Knights, and Hughes were less than two minutes apart to give Michigan a 4-1 lead.
Michigan’s strong power play, which finished fifth nationally on Saturday, struck again midway through the third period as Hughes set up freshman striker Mackie Samoskevich, another round one pick, for his third goal of the season.
Meanwhile, the team’s penalty shoot-out on Friday was perfect, three to three, including a five-minute major from Garrett Van Wyhe early in the first period. There was a total of 55 minutes on penalties in a physical rivalry matchup. Michigan has won six of the last seven in the series.
The two teams will be back on the ice in East Lansing on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.