Michigan Wolverines hockey coach Red Berenson expected freshman Kyle Connor to be good. But, nobody could have predicted that he’d be this good.
After last night’s Big Ten semifinal match-up with the Penn State Nittany Lions, a 7-2 romp for the Wolverines, Connor has 34 goals and 65 points in just 35 games. As a freshman.
His four-goal effort in last night’s game was historic – he now holds the Michigan record for goals by a freshman. He also now holds a mind-blowing 24-game point streak. Did I mention that he is a freshman?
Already a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award, Connor’s goal and point totals lead the nation. He has already been named as the Big Ten Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year. His linemates JT Compher and Tyler Motte have each earned first-team all-conference recognition, and are both on the list of 10 candidates for the Hobey Baker Award.
“Well, I don’t think he’s surprised that he can score,” Berenson told College Hockey News. “In the fall, I told you that we had one impact freshman, and it was Kyle Connor. And now you know why. I didn’t expect he would score 20 goals, let alone 30. But I knew he could be an impact scorer. He led the U.S. Hockey League last year. He was player of the year, and so on.”
A first round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 2015, his 34 goal season is already more than double what Dylan Larkin produced in his one season at Michigan.
“Maybe he’s a little impressed with the fact — or surprised that it’s going so well,” said Berenson. “But he’s a good player. He’s used to handling it. He’s got humility. And he’s just a good kid who’s a gifted player.”
The Wolverines now face the Minnesota Golden Gophers tonight at 7 p.m. in the Big Ten Championship game at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, with an automatic bid for the NCAA 16-team championship tournament on the line.