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.
In his second game this season with Florida, Little Caesars and USA Hockey NTDP alum Rocco Grimaldi recorded his first goal of the season and second of his young career — last season, Grimaldi scored his first NHL goal in a seven-game stint with the Panthers. At 5:01 of the second period in Wednesday night’s game against the struggling Anaheim Ducks, Florida’s Derek MacKenzie capitalized on a turnover in the Ducks’ zone, dropped a pass between his legs in the high slot to Quinton Howden. Howden also tipped the puck between his legs and Grimaldi was there to bury it in what looked like a play out of The Mighty Ducks. The diminutive, 5-foot-6 forward continues to find ways to be successful, now at the professional level.
Grimaldi’s first of the season:
Dylan Larkin continued the strong start to his professional career. For the second-straight game, the 19-year-old Waterford native potted the game-winning goal for the Red Wings, this time in a 2-1 victory Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena. At 5:54 of the third period, Larkin entered the Tampa zone with speed down the right side, made a quick drop pass to Justin Abdelkader, took an instant return pass and drove the net, chipping a puck past Ben Bishop on the far side for his fourth of the young season.
Larkin’s second-straight GWG:
Ryan Miller’s strong start to the 2015-16 NHL season continued Monday evening, as the East Lansing native backstopped the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 win over Philadelphia. The Michigan State alum stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced in the contest to improve to 5-2-4 on the season. The 35-year-old goaltender leads the league in starts (11), shots faced (314), saves (291) and minutes played (671) for the Pacific Division-leading Canucks.
In his first and only NHL game last season, Andrew Copp recorded his first NHL assist. And in his 11th game in his first full season this year with the Winnipeg Jets, the 21-year-old University of Michigan alum potted his first career goal. In a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Halloween, Copp went to the net with his stick on the ice and popped home a puck right in front that rebounded off the back boards from a Tyler Myers slap shot. The goal was a key insurance marker that put Winnipeg up 2-0 at the time, coming at 6:45 of the opening period and just 53 seconds after the Jets’ first goal. In 11 games thus far, Copp has recorded a goal, an assist and a plus-three rating while averaging 7:01 of ice time per game in a key fourth-line center role.
Copp’s first NHL goal: