Welcome to another season of MiHockey’s Michi-gamer!
We take great pride in our homegrown talent. Whether they grew up in the Mitten or we welcomed them here for college or juniors, they are our own. They represent the best place in the world for hockey.
Every morning, we pick one Michi-gamer from the previous night’s slate of games across all professional levels of hockey – one Michigan player who stood out above the rest.
With one shot from above the right circle, Max Pacioretty scored the only goal in last night’s Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers game. Pacioretty, a former Michigan Wolverines star, broke a scoreless tie when he sent a wrist shot through a New York defenseman to surprise Henrik Lundqvist. The UM alum now has 22 goals on the season, good for ninth in the entire NHL. Just as impressively, Pacioretty has played to a plus-23 rating this year, which ranks sixth in the league. Scoring game-winners (he’s got four on the season) and being responsible in your own end? Coach Berenson would approve.
Here’s the goal:
Detroit native and Ontario Reign forward Robbie Czarnik takes Thursday’s spot as our Michi-gamer for his hand in Wednesday night’s 7-2 victory over the Idaho Steelheads in ECHL action. The former University of Michigan and Plymouth Whalers forward set up what turned out to be the game-winner in the first period and then scored a power-play goal himself later in the game. After posting 17 goals and 30 points in 31 games with the Indy Fuel to start the season, Czarnik was dealt to Ontario for future considerations on Jan. 14. In six games with his new squad, the U.S. NTDP product has posted three points in six games. Czarnik, 25, is a former third-round selection of the Los Angeles Kings in 2008.
Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening is known best for his defensive abilities. There’s no question about that, so when the Grand Rapids native finds the scoresheet it’s a welcome bonus. And fresh off the NHL All-Star break, Glendening’s huge performance helped Detroit take over sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division with a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers. The 25-year-old former University of Michigan captain potted his fifth and sixth goals of the season in a big, four-goal second period for the Red Wings. Glendening’s second goal held up as the game-winner, the first of his career.
JANUARY 27 – ANDREW MILLER
Bloomfield Hills native Andrew Miller might not have taken home all-star MVP honors, but he still had an impressive showing at last night’s AHL star-studded affair. The Oklahoma City Barons forward recorded a pair of assists, and perhaps more impressively, finished plus-three on a night that saw 26 goals scored at the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic. Miller, a Cranbrook Kingswood alum and former Mr. Hockey winner, is in the midst of his second professional hockey season. He’s already matched last season’s total of 34 points in 11 less games. Yale’s captain for their 2013 national championship, Miller signed with the Edmonton Oilers shortly afterwards, and now he’s progressing through their system.
Ann Arbor native Austin Watson had a productive night for his Milwaukee Admirals in a 4-3 AHL victory over the Iowa Wild. The 23-year-old potted his team-leading 16th goal of the season into the third period to break a 3-3 tie and ultimately give the Admirals the win. He also added an assist when he set up Rich Clune’s fourth of the season earlier in the period. A Compuware product, Watson stands third on his team in points this season, with 23 points in 41 games with the Nashville Predators’ farm club.
Michi-gamer features compiled by MiHockey’s Stefan Kubus and Michael Caples. Click here to see last week’s Michi-gamer picks.