Welcome to another season of MiHockey’s Michi-gamer, now powered by Bauer Hockey.
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 night, we’ll keep an eye on those players, and every morning, we will pick one Michi-gamer of the night – one Michigan player who stood out above the rest.
While hockey is a team game, Michi-gamer is designed to celebrate individual performances from the Mitten’s best. That’s why Bryan Rust is getting the nod for today’s nominee. The Fighting Irish forward – a Novi native – had the lone goal for Notre Dame last night in their 3-1 loss to Minnesota Duluth. Rust scored on the power play at the 15:07 mark of the third period to get the Irish on the board, but they couldn’t take advantage of the newfound momentum. Rust, a NTDP alum, is starting his third year in South Bend. In his freshman and sophomore seasons, Rust posted 19 and 11 points, respectively. The Honeybaked alum was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010. Rust will long be remembered around the Notre Dame hockey program no matter what happens next in his career; the Michigan native scored the game-winning goal with 1.1 seconds left in overtime of the “Dedication Game” for the brand-new Compton Family Ice Arena against Boston College last year.
The Peoria Rivermen may have lost to Chicago Wolves in AHL action last night, but it wasn’t because of T.J. Hensick. The Howell native scored the lone goal for Peoria – the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues – in a 2-1 loss. Hensick buried a pass from Derek Nesbitt at the 12:40 mark of the third period to force overtime, but it wasn’t enough for the Rivermen. The former University of Michigan star is no stranger to scoring goals; last season he led Peoria (and finished 10th in all of the AHL) with 69 points in 59 games. Fun fact – Hensick was the first Wolverine to record 40 points in all four of his collegiate years since Brendan Morrison accomplished the feat in 1993-97. Hensick played in Ann Arbor from 2003-07.
The Muskegon Lumberjacks jumped into first place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference last night with a little help from forward Max Shuart. The Northville native scored a goal and an assist in the Lumberjacks’ 4-2 win over the U.S. NTDP U18 team at The Cube in Ann Arbor. Shuart, who played for Victory Honda before moving up to the USHL, now has five points in six games for the ‘Jacks, after recording 21 in 56 games last season. Get used to watching him play in Michigan, too; Shuart has already given his commitment to Red Berenson and the Michigan Wolverines. Think the folks in Ann Arbor will like watching the 6-foot-1, 187-pound forward in Maize and Blue down the road.
More MiHockey articles on Shuart:
He didn’t play in a game last night, but instead honored for the thousands of games he played over the last 30-something years. The Livonia native was officially welcomed into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame last night; just another honor for the all-time leader in points by an American-born player. Modano finished his NHL career having played in 1,499 games, and having recorded 561 goals, 813 assists, and 1,374 points. After posting 131 points in 69 games with his Little Caesars youth team, he left the Mitten to train in the WHL, playing three seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders. His next stops are well-documented; Modano was the first overall pick of the Minnesota North Stars in 1988, and would eventually become the face of hockey expansion into Texas. Nothing defines a true hockey pioneer like taking the sport to a new landscape, and making it stick. And Hockeytown was thrilled to have him back, no matter how short it was. From playing with Little Caesars in the 80s, to his hall-of-fame career in Dallas, to returning home for a season with the Red Wings, Modano served as a role model for young hockey players across the globe, and we couldn’t be more proud of a Michigan native. Now we will sit back and anxiously await his induction into another hall of fame – a first-ballot induction should be expected.
More MiHockey articles on Modano’s latest honor:
OCTOBER 15 – MACKENZIE MACEACHERN
How’s this for a homecoming weekend? Mackenzie MacEachern, last year’s high school Mr. Hockey award recipient, played his first game in the Mitten since joining the USHL’s Chicago Steel over the summer, and scored the game-winning goal while home. The former Brother Rice star, drafted in the third round by the Blues at this year’s NHL Draft, took on the National Team Development Program U17 squad Friday night at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. MacEachern helped set up the game-tying goal for the Steel in the second period, assisting on Jeff Kubiak’s goal. Then, the Michigan State commit set up Brother Rice teammate Thomas Ebbing for the go-ahead goal in the third period. And while the NTDP managed to tie the game later in the third, MacEachern once again put his team on top, scoring at the 3:43 mark of overtime for the game-winner. MacEachern, a Troy native, now has three goals and seven assists in six games, good for a second-place tie in the league scoring race with his teammate Alex Roos, and only one point off the top spot in all of the USHL.
More MiHockey articles on MacEachern:
To see last week’s Michi-gamer selections, click here.