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Werenski's goal clinches Michigan's 36th NCAA Tournament berth

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets


It’s been a pretty good week for Zach Werenski.

A pretty good season, actually, but you get the point.

After a four-point performance in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Saturday in St. Paul, Minn. (including the game-winning goal with 4:33 to play), Werenski and the Wolverines punched their ticket to the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

It was the program’s first-ever Big Ten title and also clinched the school’s 36th appearance in the tournament – an NCAA record.

Werenski has been one of the Wolverines’ most consistent players this season, his sophomore campaign, and he’s been playing great hockey at the right time. He was named to the All-Tournament Team, as well, along with three teammates: Steve Racine, JT Compher and Kyle Connor.

"It means a ton," Werenski told Michigan’s official website. "Michigan's going to win a lot more (Big Ten titles) in the years to come, and it's great to be on the first one. So, it was a special feeling on a special night."

The game-winning goal for Werenski in the conference title game was his 10th goal of the season, and you could argue that none was bigger than that one.

Here’s what Werenski said about his game-winner: "I just thought I should put one on the net and it found its way in. Once you see that emotion on their faces it fired myself up, and I just went through the line and everybody was pretty excited. It was definitely a special feeling."

Next up for the Wolverines (24-7-5) is a first-round NCAA Tournament date with Notre Dame, one of their old rivals in the now-defunct CCHA.

The game will be played at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati (a 5:30 p.m. puck drop), and is scheduled to be televised live on ESPNU.

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