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All eyes on Michigan as Big Ten Tournament returns

The Big Ten Tournament begins on Thursday with the University of Michigan as bookmakers favourites. The Wolverines begins its series in Ann Arbor against Wisconsin ranked No. 2 in the USCHO poll. First, they square off on Thursday at Yost Ice Arena before a repeat the following day. Michigan have all the quality to conquer according to stats from www.casinoinquirer.com.

They are the first college hockey team to have seven first-round NHL draft picks on its roster. Four of them were among the first five selections earlier this year. They include defenseman Owen Power (first overall), forward Matty Beniers (second), defenseman Luke Hughes (third), forward Kent Johnson (fifth) and forward Mackie Samoskevich (24th) – plus two more Round 1 picks from previous drafts in forward Brendan Brisson (29th overall in 2020) and forward Johnny Beecher (30th overall in 2019).

Although the Wolverines recorded their first loss last weekend, falling 5-2 at home to Western Michigan, they responded in style with a 3-2 overtime win at WMU for a 5-1-0 record on the season.

Consequently, Michigan is 5-1 on the season after dropping its first game against Western Michigan last Friday (Oct. 22). The Wolverines rebounded with a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday (Oct. 23) to earn a series split with the Broncos. Bar the minor dent, Michigan has everything going on well for them.

Sophomore Brendan Brisson leads the team in scoring with 10 points on six goals and four assists. Half of his strikes have been game-winning goals. Linemate Thomas Bordeleau has eight points (two goals, team-leading six assists). Freshman defenseman Luke Hughes and sophomore Kent Johnson follow with seven points apiece; Hughes has registered a point in each of the Wolverines' six games.

Hughes and Jacob Truscott lead the team in plus/minus with both carrying a +9 rating. Sophomore Owen Power leads the team in blocked shots with eight, followed by Nick Blankenburg's seven. Erik Portillo has played every minute in goal for the Wolverines and has a 5-1 record, a .914 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average.

The Wolverines lead the series with the Badgers 81-63-13 and had a six-game win streak snapped by the Badgers in their last meeting. The program has won 68 percent of its games (43-17-9) against the Badgers at Yost. The Wolverines had a six-game win streak in the series snapped on Feb. 14, a 3-2 loss to the eventual Big Ten regular-season champion. Michigan averages 4.50 goals per game to rank as the second-best scoring offence in the nation.

Wisconsinnn, meanwhile, is coming off of a high-flying 2020-21 campaign that saw the program clinch a Big Ten regular-season title, while standout sniper Cole Caufield took home the school's second Hobey Baker Award. Now, a revamped Badgers lineup travels to Ann Arbor with a 2-4 overall record, which is being followed by meilleures jeux blackjack argent reel.

Without Caufield, Dylan Holloway and Ty Pelton-Byce, the focus on offense shifts to returners like Dominick Mersch, Tarek Baker, Sam Stange, Roman Ahcan, and Brock Caufield. Newcomer Brayden Morrison will look familiar to U-M fans, as his father, Brendan, was a Hobey Baker and national title-winning superstar for the Wolverines in the late 1990s who still maintains his status as the all-time leading scorer in Michigan hockey history (284).

The Wolverines begin November with a double-header against Michigan, the Pennsylvania State.

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