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.
The pride of Oxford, Mich., found the goal column for the first time this season last night, and he did so in style. Nathan Gerbe – all 5-foot-5 of him – scored on the Buffalo Sabres’ first shot of the game last night, picking up his first goal of the season. Gerbe flew down the right wing, slammed on the brakes to free himself up for a shot, faked a slapper, and then beat Scott Clemmensen with a quick wrist shot. But Gerbe didn’t stop there. The Boston College alum also picked up his second goal of the season in highlight-reel fashion later on in the first period. Gerbe raced into the zone, managed a deke despite a bouncing puck, and then roofed said puck over Clemmensen’s shoulder shortside to end the Florida goaltender’s night early. The Sabres would end up winning in a shootout.
Max Pacioretty continues to win over the Canadiens’ faithful, and his two goals last night certainly won’t hurt. The former Wolverine found the back of the net twice yesterday, and those two goals came against the hated Toronto Maple Leafs. Pacioretty gave the Habs a 2-1 lead early in the second period when he drove to the net and the rebound off a point shot from PK Subban hit him in the shin. Not the prettiest goal, but hey, as Kyle Quincey said last night – “there’s no pictures on the scoresheet.” Pacioretty made sure his second would be highlight-reel worthy, however. With his club already up 3-2, Pacioretty grabbed a loose puck, raced into the Leafs’ end, and fired a wrist shot short-side, somehow beating Ben Scrivens despite not having much room to work with. The two tallies were Pacioretty’s fifth and sixth of the season. He’s also got 10 helpers in the shortened year.
More MiHockey articles on Pacioretty:
After allowing a Steven Stamkos goal 1:24 into the game (but honestly, who’s stopping that guy right now anyway?), East Lansing native Ryan Miller steadied the Buffalo Sabres’ ship the rest of the way en route to a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Miller went on to make 30 saves, including seven more on Stamkos and nine total from the Lightning on the power play. The 32-year-old former Michigan State Spartan and Hobey Baker Award winner recorded just his first win between the pipes since Feb. 15, but helped get new head coach Ron Rolston his first win behind the Buffalo bench in the process. Miller currently holds a 7-10-1 record, 2.83 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage, reflecting the exact same percentage he has finished the last two seasons with.
More MiHockey articles on Miller:
Ann Arbor native Jeff Petry picked up his first goal of the season yesterday, giving his Edmonton Oilers something not many teams have experienced this season; a lead over the Chicago Blackhawks. Petry, a Michigan State alum, buried a rebound for a shorthanded marker at the 4:28 mark of the first period in yesterday’s contest with the West-leading Blackhawks. The Oilers weren’t able to hold onto the lead – nobody has been able to against Chicago this season – but it certainly wasn’t from a lack of effort by Petry. The third-year pro blocked three shots, and he led both teams in hits, with seven through 60 minutes of play.
More MiHockey articles on Petry:
FEBRUARY 25 – CHAD BILLINS
Chad Billins picked quite a time for a personal first. In a 7-3 win over San Antonio yesterday, the Grand Rapids Griffins rookie defenseman recorded his first hat trick ever – at any level of hockey. The 23-year-old Ferris State alum from Marysville had the game-winning fourth goal of the game for Grand Rapids with a power play tally with less than a minute remaining in the second stanza. Billins is only the second Griffins blue liner to record a hat trick and first to do so at home. In 52 AHL games, Billins now has six goals and 23 assists for 29 points. Maybe the time of year deserves a little bit of credit; Billins’ former team is gearing up for another CCHA playoff run. Billins was a co-captain on the Bulldogs’ team that made it all the way to the NCAA National Championship game last spring, and the talented defenseman picked up the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and was named to the All-CCHA First Team along the way.
More MiHockey articles on Billins:
To see last week’s Michi-gamer nominations, click here.
This week’s Michi-gamer list assembled by MiHockey’s Stefan Kubus and Michael Caples.