Michigan Goalies Still Battling to Find Groove

College Hockey News from CHN

December 5, 2018
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Wolverines Confident in Second-Half Improvements

by Jashvina Shah/Staff Writer (@icehockeystick)

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After a blistering second half where he led Michigan to the Frozen Four, Hayden Lavigne was expected to be Michigan’s starter and the final answer to many long years of goaltending question marks.

He started last season by splitting starts with classmate Jack LaFontaine. But he started every game from Jan. 2 onwards, raising his season save percentage from .893 to .908. His stellar play was a key reason behind Michigan’s at-large NCAA tournament berth as well as its Frozen Four appearance.

So Lavigne earned the first two starts of the season. But he surrendered 10 goals on the weekend, which allowed for Strauss Mann, a recent USHL champion, a chance to start.

So what changed?

Lavigne said confidence was key to his success last year. But this year, instead of simply confidence, he found that battling hard on every play in practice gave him his best performances the following weekend.

“The two might be similar and being confident might result in making some of those battle saves and plays that don’t really happen. At the same time I think that battling aspect also correlates to giving me more confidence,” Lavigne said.

“I tend to over-think sometimes during practice, which is a lot of times my downfall in certain drills. It kind of gets me, that’s kind of the way I’ve always been.”

He started both games against Wisconsin, where he allowed a total of three goals. That performance earned him a start Friday night against Michigan State, where he gave up four goals in the loss.

“I thought he got off to a slow start this year,” Michigan head coach Mel Pearson said. “I’ll be honest, I thought he would’ve been probably a little bit more consistent early. … I saw a difference in practice …

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