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Michigan hockey flys past No. 15 Michigan State in East Lansing

On Friday, the Michigan Wolverines took a 2-1 series lead over Michigan State with a two-goal lead in East Lansing.

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© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Friday night, the 5th-ranked Michigan hockey team took down the 15th-ranked Michigan State Spartans on the road at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, MI. The Wolverines now lead the season series, 2-1, ahead of Saturday’s ‘Dual in the D’ matchup at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI.

First period

The Wolverines started the night hot and essentially won the game in the first period alone. Just minutes into the game, sophomore forward Mackie Samoskevich buried the first goal, giving Michigan a 1-0 lead. Minutes later, the Wolverines scored again; this time, freshman forward Adam Fantilli lit the lamp to push Michigan’s lead to two goals.

If that wasn’t enough, freshman forward Gavin Brindley scored Michigan’s third goal just a few minutes later. An MSU goal was called back due to goaltender interference, and the Wolverines’ lead remained at 3-0 heading into the first break.

Second period

After as good of a first period as possible, Michigan hockey failed to score a single goal in the second. The Spartan defense limited the Wolverines and frequently played stoppages; meanwhile, Michigan State finally managed to get on the board heading into the third and final period of play.

Less than five minutes into the second period, Michigan State scored their first goal of the game and cut the Wolverines’ lead to 3-1 heading into the third.

Third period

Just over five minutes into the third, Michigan State attempted a comeback as they netted their second goal of the game, leaving Michigan hockey with a 3-2 lead as the game entered its final stages.

As we have seen repeatedly, the Wolverines were held steady by junior goaltender Erik Portillo, who acted as a brick wall all night in Michigan’s win. Portillo stopped 30 of the Spartans’ 32 shots in another incredible performance — despite having a rough start to the season, the veteran netminder was rock solid on Friday night.

Michigan’s Gavin Brindley capped off the night win an empty net goal, giving the Wolverines a 4-2 lead. Michigan hockey finished the game on a high note as we turned the page from Friday’s contest to the ‘Dual in the D’ on Saturday night.

The Wolverines and Spartans will meet again on Saturday night — puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 PM at Little Caesars Arena for what is known as the heaviest trophy in college hockey.

FINAL: Michigan 4, Michigan State 2

Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebookand Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Managing Editor at Cj@BluebyNinety.com. Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and all other steaming platforms.

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Michigan baseball takes conference opener after eight run inning

Michigan baseball starts conference play with a victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions after scoring eight runs in the fourth inning.

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Michigan baseball
@Adiel_Photography (Instagram)

ANN ARBOR, MI — Big 10 baseball is officially back for the Wolverines. This Friday, Michigan baseball hosted the Penn State Nittany Lions for the first of three games scheduled for this weekend. The Wolverine bats came alive in the fourth inning as Michigan baseball plated eight runners and batted around the order.

Michigan baseball continued to add runs to their lead and finished with a 13-4 victory over the Nittany Lions. Starting pitcher Connor O’Halloran pitched eight innings for the maize and blue, striking out seven and allowing four earned runs.

While O’Halloran’s pitching was dominant, Michigan’s hitting was the star of the show in their victory. Here’s a breakdown of the Wolverine’s electrifying eight-run fourth inning.

Velazquez Leadoff Homer

Michigan baseball entered the inning trailing 2-1 to Penn State. Leading off the inning was senior outfielder Joey Velazquez. After a breakout season last year, Velazquez has been relatively quiet at the plate. Velazquez entered the game batting .188 after 48 at-bats for the 2023 campaign.

After building a 3-2 count in a tight at bat, Velazquez sent a line drive over the right field wall for his first home run of the 2023 season. The score was now even at two a piece.

Velazquez’ homer tied the game, but more importantly, it built momentum. Michigan baseball was ready to rally.

Playing ‘Small Ball’

Next up after Velazquez was the switch-hitting senior Jake Marti. Marti kept the inning alive with a first-pitch infield single down the third base line. While it’s certainly less flashy than a home run, the hit kept the momentum alive and put a baserunner on with no outs.

Michigan catcher Gabe Sotres was hit by a pitch in the following at-bat, now putting two men on with still nobody out. With these runners on base, Michigan baseball decided to play classic small ball and bunt. Freshman Mitch Voit showed bunt on the first pitch, and despite the infield playing in, Voit placed the bunt perfectly to the left of the pitcher’s mound and beat the throw to first for another infield single.

The bases were now loaded with no outs for freshman outfielder Jonathan Kim. Kim, who’s been fighting for a starting spot in the outfield in the past few weeks, took full advantage of the opportunity before him and blooped a single into left, plating a run and advancing each runner exactly one base.

Now back at the top of the order, graduate transfer Cody Jefferis drew an RBI walk, increasing the Wolverines’ lead to 4-2 with still no outs and bases loaded. Penn State made a pitching change as they prepared to face the heart of the Wolverine lineup.

The Big Bats

At the most powerful part of the batting order, Michigan baseball continued to plate runners. Senior outfielder Tito Flores was the first out in the rally after hitting a deep sac fly to center field which plated the Wolverines’ fourth run of the inning.

This was immediately followed by a first-pitch double from Michigan’s three-spot hitter Ted Burton. The double scored a run and advanced the speedy Cody Jefferis to third base. A wild pitch on the next at-bat brought Jefferis home from third on a close play.

Michigan’s cleanup hitter Joe Longo hit the second home run of the inning, this one a two-run homer over the left field wall. This gave Michigan baseball a 9-2 lead after entering the inning trailing by one.

The Wolverines had officially batted around the order as Joey Velazquez stepped into the box for the second time that inning. Both Velazquez and Marti would ground out in their next at-bats, ending Michigan’s rally. The Wolverines finished the inning with six hits, eight runs, and no one left on base.



Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Managing Editor at Cj@BluebyNinety.com. Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and all other streaming platforms. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest and most influential Michigan media outlets there is!

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Michigan hockey: time to take the interim tag off Brandon Naurato

Coach Brandon Naurato has more than proven himself worthy.

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Michigan hockey Brandon Naurato
© Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Seven months ago, head coach Mel Pearson was fired from the Michigan hockey team. The University of Michigan athletic department and athletic director Warde Manuel made this decision after a lengthy investigation of the hockey program. The investigation discovered an incredibly toxic culture throughout the team; that toxicity involved Coach Pearson. Also, there was an investigation on Mel Pearson regarding the potential harassment of female staff members. Since then, Michigan has hired a new head coach: Brandon Naurato.

Michigan hockey made the correct decision on firing head coach Mel Pearson, but the real question was, who would fill that spot? Mel Pearson took an incredibly talented team to be Big Ten Champions and a Frozen Four playoff run.

Michigan had to not only find someone who could take this team on another playoff run and have a good relationship with the players and recruits. This brought them to the decision of naming assistant Coach Brandon Naurato as “interim head coach.”

Brandon Naurato as Interim Head Coach

In the off-season after the 2021-2022 season, the Michigan hockey team lost 14 out of 29 players due to graduation or the NHL. Team 100 was one of the most talented college hockey teams ever. With former Wolverine stars like Matty Beniers, Owen Power, Kent Johnson and Nick Blankenburg off to the NHL, Naurato had to take a nearly brand-new team and attempt to exceed expectations.

With 12 players in the incoming freshman class, this made over half of the team underclassmen. To be exact, 17 of the 27 players on the roster are freshmen and sophomores. Michigan has the youngest yet one of the most talented teams in college hockey.

The Michigan hockey team this season has had its ups and downs; however, that was expected with an inexperienced roster. Still, in his first year as head coach, the team went 24-11-3 and won the Big Ten Tournament against No. 1 ranked Minnesota

He led this Michigan hockey team to another NCAA tournament berth and to make another run at the Frozen Four. Brandon Naurato not only made the team successful on the ice but off the ice as well. The healthy culture has been restored, and this team is all in on each other and their goals.

Why Remove the “Interim” Tag

Brandon Naurato has exceeded any and all expectations as interim head coach. He helped this team achieve what many thought was impossible.

The team loves him, and he loves the team; what better culture can you ask for? He is a fantastic coach, a great recruiter and a players’ coach. The Michigan hockey program is in its best position for the future.

He knows this team and knows the players as he was an assistant prior. Brandon Naurato is undoubtedly the best fit to coach this team. Now it is all in the athletic department’s hands. The best choice to run this team is Coach Naurato. Now, they will need to sign him for the years to come.



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Michigan hockey named No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament

Could this be the year?

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Michigan forward Rutger McGroarty (2) skates with the puck during the Michigan-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan Vs Notre Dame

Michigan Hockey is Big Ten Champions yet again, and they are onto the NCAA Tournament. For the second year in a row, the Michigan Wolverines beat the top-seeded Minnesota Gophers in a sold-out 3M Arena at Mariucci. The final score was 4-3, which was the same score as last year’s championship game.

With two goals in nearly 30 seconds from Freshman Rutger McGroarty, the momentum boosted within the Michigan hockey squad. From there on out, Michigan never let off the gas. 

This Michigan team wanted it more. That desire and want to win the Big Ten trophy again paid off. And now the Michigan Wolverines are back-to-back Big Ten Champions.

Still, the season is far from over, and the Wolverines still have one more goal to achieve. In the post-game press conference, Freshman Rutger McGroarty commented about the team’s future goals. McGroarty said, “The Big Ten is awesome, but we still got another tournament to win.

NCAA Tournament Berth

Selection Sunday for the NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament was a good one for the Wolverines. Michigan hockey was named the tournament’s No. 1 seed in the Allentown region.

The other No. 1 seeds are Minnesota, with the No. 1 overall seed, Quinnipiac, and the reigning national champions, Denver. As the third No. 1 seed in the tournament, the Wolverines may have one of the best chances to make it to the Frozen Four.

The Road to the Frozen Four

The NCAA Tournament is almost here, and the first games begin this weekend. In the Allentown region with Michigan, there are teams from two other conferences, along with another Big Ten representative. 

Michigan’s first matchup will be against the Colgate Raiders from the ECAC. Colgate is 19-15-5 overall. Colgate has pulled off multiple upsets this season against No. 2 ranked Quinnipiac and the No. 6 ranked Harvard in the ECAC tournament.

Meanwhile, the other two teams are the Penn State Nittany Lions from the Big Ten and the Michigan Tech Huskies from the CCHA. Penn State is 21-15-1 overall, and the Huskies are 24-10-4.

While Michigan must beat Colgate first, all three teams are beatable. If Michigan hockey plays as they did during the Big Ten Tournament, they should have no problem making it to the Frozen Four of the NCAA Tournament.

Revenge Tour

After a soul-crushing overtime loss against Denver last season in the Frozen Four, this team will do everything possible to ensure that does not happen again. It will not be easy to get there; however, this team has a lot of fight left in them. If anyone can win the national championship, it is this Michigan hockey team.



Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Managing Editor at Cj@BluebyNinety.com. Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and all other steaming platforms. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest and most influential Michigan media outlets there is!

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