Analyzing Michigan and Quinnipiac’s Top 5 Players


Courtesy: QBSN

Aiden Barrett

A rematch from last year’s regional matchup between Quinnipiac and Michigan. Although this time a trip to the National Championship is on the line. Each team is loaded up with talent but let’s go over the top five most important players from each team to have an impact on this game.

1. Yaniv Perets

If Quinnipiac is going to get past this juggernaut of an offense, Perets is going to have to do what he’s done all season long. Stop the puck and the game as often as he can. Michigan’s attack is too lethal to be given the extra chances or let them play that up-tempo game that they thrive in. Perets will have to bring his 34-save performance and his .932 save percentage in the contests prior to this frozen four bout. The sophomore’s role in this game is pivotal.

2. Collin Graf

You can’t ask for much more from a transfer than what Collin Graf has given you. To have a player come in and be 17 points over a point per game player after losing half of your top-six in one offseason is critical in terms of team success and development. Graf has more than plugged the hole recording points in 30 games, a team-high, and throwing up a stat line of 20 goals and 36 assists for 56 points. Making it 31 games will definitely give a better feeling of the Bobcats advancing.

3. Zach Metsa

Quinnipiac has been a consistent top-10 team in the country for the past five years. Another consistency with that is Zach Metsa playing a key role on those top teams which he has been more than capable of handling. He’s proven he can be a number one guy on the backend on a top team, a trend that will have to continue through Thursday night if Quinnipiac’s season is going to continue.

4. Ethan De Jong

In games of this type of magnitude, Ethan De Jong-type players are crucial. Nobody wears the Bobcat’s crest on their chest with more pride than De Jong. A player with an edge to his game and a scoring touch with an underrated shot amongst the rest of the NCAA will be put into a big role come Thursday. The graduate student had his second point-per-game season this past year and you can almost guarantee he will be in the mix of things for this game.

5. Sam Lipkin

Although a first-year, Sam Lipkin is too skilled not to be put on this list. It’s no secret Quinnipiac will need their skill players to be their skill players. At 6’2”, 192 pounds, and a 39-point season, Lipkin looks like he’s blossoming his way into a future college star. What better way to emphasize that take than in the frozen four, right?


Now the players for Michigan that will play pivotal roles in Thursday’s contest:

1. Luke Hughes

The most important player in this game is Luke Hughes. A player who could step into the NHL today and be a star shortly thereafter. The sophomore had 47 points including 37 assists in 38 games this season. His play stands out to you just as much as his numbers do as a fourth forward from the backend with elite skating and stickhandling ability. He is as dangerous as anyone on the ice in the offensive zone. Hughes is dynamic with the puck and has the creativity to create offense out of nothing, he is certainly poised for a big frozen four.

2. Adam Fantilli

Top picks are nothing new to Michigan. Adam Fantilli will be the same as he is a projected top three more likely than not second overall pick in this year’s upcoming draft. Fantilli led the whole NCAA in points with 64 as a first-year. The top prospect has shown why he is going to be a top pick in multiple national tournaments including winning gold at this past World Juniors with Canada, a 74-point year with the Chicago Steel, and now being the top scorer in the NCAA. He’s good, he’s going to be good Thursday.

3. Mackie Samoskevich

The first thing that jumps out to you when watching Mackie Samoskevich is his speed. He goes from zero to 100 with the puck as quickly as anyone in college hockey. A large reason why he was a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. You think you have a good gap on him, you don’t, you think you’re in position, you’re not. The sophomore doubled his points this year from his previous one with 43 in 38 games. He shows up in big moments too as the goal that sent Michigan to the Frozen Four in overtime came from his stick.

4. Rutger McGroarty

Michigan’s first-year class was the best in the NCAA. Multiple draft picks, multiple point-per-game players and Rutger McGroarty fits this build. McGroarty scored 18 times in his rookie campaign, good enough for third on the team. He is a power forward with terrific hands giving him opportunities to put up nice stat lines. McGroarty’s physical play below the goal lines could be key in Michigan being able to set up in the offensive zone.

5. Erik Portillo

After taking over the starting role in 2021 in explosive fashion Portillo’s numbers dropped this past season. Don’t let the numbers fool you though as Portillo is still an elite college hockey goaltender. With his 6’6” frame Portillo is super tough to beat low as he is outstanding in terms of positioning in taking away high-danger scoring chances. Last year when these two teams played it was Portillo as a big reason why Michigan was able to hold a multi-goal lead through a large portion of the game. Portillo will set up for another strong game between the pipes.