March 27, 2012
The University of Michigan ice hockey team officially wrapped up the 2011-12 campaign on Monday (March 26), holding the final full team meeting and media availability of the season. Head Coach Red Berenson and players reflected on the season that was and what lies ahead for the Wolverines.
Berenson indicated that the team would vote on next year's captains on Thursday (March 29) and that they could be appointed as early as this week. When asked about replacing this year's seniors (Shawn Hunwick, Luke Glendening, Greg Pateryn and David Wohlberg) and which players he expected to step forward, Berenson shared his thoughts what constitutes a team leader.
"Leaders aren't born, they're made. And sometimes they're made through a situation or an opportunity, or through growth of seeing other leaders" Berenson said. "But I would say this; whoever leads our team next year has a great example of leadership from this year (in Hunwick, Glendening, Pateryn and Wohlberg)."
Berenson, however, wouldn't tip his hand on who he expected to don the "C" for the Wolverines next season.
Despite a disappointing 3-2 overtime loss to Cornell in the Midwest Regional Semifinal last Friday (March 23), Michigan has to be pleased with aspects of the 2011-12 season. U-M finished the year with a 24-13-4 record, earning a second-place finish in the CCHA regular-season and playoff race, and a number-one seed in the Midwest Regional. The team battled through a tumultuous November -- during which it posted a 1-6-1 record -- to end the season on a 17-5-2 run through the final 24 games.
Standard to this time of year is the question of whether or not all the underclassmen decide to return to Ann Arbor or to test their game in the professional ranks. Sophomore defenseman Mac Bennett showed no hesitation when asked if he had thought of making the jump to pro hockey.
"I'm coming back for sure," Bennett said. "I'm not ready to leave this place yet; I love this place way too much."
When asked for his thoughts on his teammates potentially exiting over the summer, Bennett expressed his desire for the team to remain intact.
"I would hope everyone stays. With the group that we have for this next season, I would think that we'd be able to do some serious damage" he added.
Regardless of the decisions made over the summer, U-M is poised to once again be a force in the college hockey world. The Wolverines return eight of their top-10 scorers from this season and the addition of a talented crop of incoming freshmen in the fall will help reload the roster for 2012-13.
Thanks for your continued support throughout the 2011-12 season and be sure to check MGoBlue.com for all your Michigan ice hockey news. You can always following the team on Twitter (@umichhockey) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/michiganhockey) for up to the minute coverage.