With the CCHA postseason quickly approaching, Michigan would like to stabilize its goalie, but while preparing for a two-game series at Ohio State Feb. 22-23, the Maize and Blue are still unsure who will start in net.
Freshman Jared Rutledge had experienced success in earning a sweep of Michigan State Feb. 1-2, but he allowed 11 of Notre Dame's 13 goals Feb. 8-9, and stopped just 80.4 percent of the shots faced.
Classmate Steve Racine (4-5-2) and junior Adam Janecyk (3-7-0) haven't fared any better this year, posting save percentages of .880 and .892, respectively, with goals against averages both north of 3.00.
U-M may end up turning to redshirt sophomore Luke Dwyer. The redshirt sophomore from Plymouth, Mich., has never appeared in a game for the Wolverines and hasn't started a single contest in three years after giving up hockey altogether.
"He tried out for a junior team in Port Huron, and I was told he made the team but he had also been admitted to Michigan and opted to come to school," coach Red Berenson said. "We didn't recruit him and he did not play on the club team so he didn't play anywhere his freshman year at Michigan. But I heard he went to the [Ann Arbor Ice] Cube and skated. Every time they had open ice he was out there with his goalie equipment.
"It's a pretty good story, and the next year we needed a third goalie so I looked him up and asked him if he was interested. By then he had been admitted to the business school but he said he'd like to, and he came on as our third goalie.
"Right now we're looking for a starting goalie and he has a chance. But I can't tell you who is going to be that guy."
Michigan hadn't started three different goalies in a single campaign since the 2000 season (Josh Blackburn, Kevin O'Malley and L.J. Scarpace) and only did so because of an injury to Blackburn that sidelined him for 19 contests.
If Dwyer sees the ice, it will mark the first time since 1987 that U-M has employed four netminders in the same year. Interestingly, that is the last season the Wolverines finished under .500 (14-25-1); Michigan was 22-19-0 in 1988 and has posted a winning record in 27 consecutive campaigns.
"That's been the difficulty all year, getting a consistent go-to goalie, and it's hard for the goalies," Berenson said. "They could easily make the point that, 'I'm just getting a few games under my belt, and they pull me.' But I want to see a goalie that gives us a chance to win and I'll play him every night. That's been our history here, but we haven't had that goalie this year."