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.
It was another night of firsts for JT Miller. Just two days after making his NHL debut, the former NTDP and Plymouth Whalers star picked up not only his first goal, but his second goal as well. The new member of the New York Rangers jumpstarted the Blueshirts’ offense Thursday night, recording his first goal at the highest level just 1:29 into the contest. Miller grabbed a loose puck, rushed into the Islanders’ zone, kicked the puck up to his stick, and fired it past Evgeni Nabokov. The former Whaler then added to his special night late in the second period, scoring a power-play goal – yes, he’s already getting power-play time – with 1:49 remaining in the middle frame. Miller took a pass from Ryan McDonagh while he was flying through the neutral zone, got in behind the defense, and fired the puck through Nabokov to give the Rangers a commanding 3-1 lead. Not a bad week for JT Miller, that’s for sure.
More MiHockey articles on Miller:
In a 6-2 win over Abbotsford Wednesday night, Kevin Porter racked up a goal and two assists to help lead his team to victory. The Northville native and Rochester Americans captain also recorded a plus-3 rating. In 44 games this season, Porter – former Michigan Wolverines standout and 2007-08 Hobey Baker Award winner – has registered 15 goals and 28 assists for 43 points. Last season, he appeared in 35 games with the Colorado Avalanche, scoring four goals and adding three helpers. During his four-year stint with the Wolverines, the 26-year-old Porter – also a US NTDP alum – registered 183 points in 162 collegiate games.
More MiHockey articles on Porter:
Zach Redmond picked quite a time to pick up his first two NHL points last night. The Traverse City native – playing in just his third NHL game – set up Mark Stuart’s shot from the point that tied the game for the Winnipeg Jets at the 12:21 mark of the third period. Redmond wasn’t done yet though. In overtime, the Ferris State alum carried the puck into the Florida end, and drew enough attention to himself to free Bryan Little. A quick dish from Redmond freed the Jets’ forward, and Little scored the game-winner with 16 seconds left in OT. Primary assists on both the game-tying goal and the game-winning goal? Quite the hometown hero performance for Redmond.
More MiHockey articles on Redmond:
With limited action to pick from last night, we took a second look through the weekend’s scores, and Chad Kolarik’s name jumped out once again. The former Wolverine is going to have an easy time making friends with his new team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, if he keeps scoring game-winners in overtime. On Sunday, Kolarik found the back of the net at the 4:49 mark of the extra frame, helping the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins capitalize on a power-play opportunity. Kolarik, also a NTDP alum, was playing in just his fifth game with the new club. His OT winner also tacked on another win to Michigan native Jeff Zatkoff’s record, which now stands at 15-12-1-0.
More MiHockey articles on Kolarik:
After having himself a huge weekend in his team’s first weekend sweep of the season (against rival Michigan State, no less) Cristoval “Boo” Nieves gets our Michi-gamer nod to kick off this week. Friday night, Nieves had a pair of third-period goals to lead his Wolverines past the Spartans at Yost Ice Arena. The next day, Nieves tallied a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win at Joe Louis Arena. A four-point weekend? Not too shabby for the freshman forward and New York Rangers draft pick. That gives Nieves a total of seven goals and 21 points in 28 overall games so far this season, good for the team lead. Normally we wait until after players like Nieves are done with college hockey games before considering them for Michi-gamer status, but we decided to give Nieves an early shout-out for his big weekend.
More MiHockey articles on Nieves:
To see last week’s Michi-gamer nominations, click here.
This week’s Michi-gamer list assembled by MiHockey’s Stefan Kubus, Aarif Mohie El-Deen and Michael Caples.