Welcome to another season of MiHockey’s Michi-gamer!
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 morning, we pick one Michi-gamer from the previous night’s slate of games across all professional levels of hockey – one Michigan player who stood out above the rest.
APRIL 17 – LUKE GLENDENING
Five minutes into the third period of Game 1 between the Red Wings and Lightning, Luke Glendening was doing one of the things he does best – killing a penalty. The Grand Rapids native went above and beyond, however, when he raced down the ice, put a spin-0-rama move on former Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula, and beat goaltender Ben Bishop with a backhander for his second career playoff goal. Glendening lighting the lamp was huge for the Wings, as it increased their lead to 3-1, and turned out to be the game-winner in the contest. The University of Michigan alum had 12 goals in his first full NHL regular season, but none of them were as big as the one he scored in the first game of the playoffs last night. Check out our recap from the Wings’ Game 1 win over the Lightning for more information.
Check out Glendening’s highlight-reel goal here:
Former Michigan State blueliner Duncan Keith ensured that his Chicago Blackhawks jumped out to a 1-0 in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Nashville Predators Wednesday night. It looked bleak early for Chicago, down 3-0 after the opening 20 minutes. But the Blackhawks climbed all the way back to tie and eventually win, 4-3. Keith drew a helper on Jonathan Toews’ game-tying goal at 13:50 of the second period. With the first period going to Nashville, second going to Chicago and no scoring in the third, it took nearly one-and-a-half overtime frames to solve the contest. At 7:49 of the second overtime, one-time Red Wings forward Marian Hossa fed Keith at the point, and his quick shot, the 42nd of the game for the Hawks, beat a screened Pekka Rinne on the far side and, just like that, Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the series.
Watch the OT winner here:
In ECHL playoff action, Gary Steffes had no problem carrying the momentum from his career season over to his top-seeded Allen Americans’ 6-2 victory over the Tulsa Oilers in Game 1 of their opening series. First, the Grand Blanc native drew a helper on Allen’s second goal, which tied things up at 5:53 of the middle frame. He then went on to score one of his own, a powerplay marker with 33 seconds remaining in the contest to put the final nail in the coffin. Steffes also led the way with eight shots on goal. He finished the regular season with career-highs across the board, doubling his previous highs, with 44 goals and 29 assists for 73 points in 63 games, up from his 18 goals and 17 assists in 60 games with Bakersfield last season.
Macomb native Scott Czarnowczan continued his torrid scoring pace in the ECHL in Sunday morning’s 8-2 victory for Detroit Red Wings affiliate Toledo Walleye over the Kalamazoo Wings. The former Ferris State captain recorded points on the first three Toledo goals to begin the takeover, first assisting on the first of Tyler Barnes’ three goals, then assisting on one of A.J. Jenks’ (Wolverine Lake) three goals before ultimately scoring his own goal. All three tallies were recorded within a 1:33 span from 12:20 to 13:53 of the opening frame to blow the game wide open. That was just the 23-year-old defenseman’s second goal of the season, but he has 23 helpers for an impressive 25 points in 29 games. Czarnowczan has split the other half of the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL, where he has tallied two goals and seven assists in 27 games.
It didn’t take Tanner Kero long to score in the American Hockey League. The Hancock native and former Michigan Tech Huskies standout scored two goals in his first three games, fresh off his stellar senior year and disappointing first-round exit in the NCAA tournament. First, in his AHL debut for his Rockford Icehogs Thursday, Kero opened the scoring just 4:56 into the contest against the Iowa Wild, a game Rockford won 5-3. In Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Charlotte, he once again kicked off the scoring, this time just 1:48 into the tilt. Kero was named the WCHA Player of the Year, Michigan’s college hockey MVP by College Hockey, Inc. and a top-ten Hobey Baker Award finalist after compiling 20 goals and 46 points in 41 games for the Huskies.
Michi-gamer features compiled by MiHockey’s Stefan Kubus and Michael Caples. Click here to see last week’s Michi-gamer picks.