If you are what you eat, then Michigan’s Justin Selman is an absolute animal. On the advice of his personal trainer Selman switched to a Paleolithic diet, which is high in lean meats and proteins.
In the summer of 2012, Selman was in preparation for his freshman season at UM working alongside Wolverine alums Max Pacioretty and Aaron Palushaj as well as NHL players Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis. Under the supervision of strength and conditioning coach Ben Prentiss, Selman submerged himself in a total commitment to weight training and nutrition to prepare for the college hockey environment.
“I was one of the younger guys in there, everyone else in there was either a college guy or an NHL guy,” Selman said. “It was almost like a cult-like atmosphere. Everyone was super strict.”
On a harsh, six-day workout regiment and a diet consisting of lean meats like chicken, grass-fed beef, bison and venison, Selman’s body fat dropped five percent in the first month.
“I definitely could see the difference, it was pretty quick too,” Selman said. “Body fat just started to shed off my mid-section and my arms and upper body. It really leaned me out. I didn’t lose any weight, I just got really lean.”
As a byproduct, Selman developed his culinary skills preparing meats, vegetables and pastas in the kitchen in addition to his fit body figure and enhanced performance on the ice.
“I enjoy cooking quite a bit,” Selman said. “My roommate, Steve Racine, is a really good cook. So he’s taught me how to work with some of the foods that I’ve had to cook over the summer time and I kinda got him into it too.”
At 6-foot and 198 pounds, Selman treats food as fuel for the body and doesn’t necessarily eat to satisfy a craving. That fuel has propelled him to his best season yet for the Wolverines, with seven goals and 16 points in 17 games. As an athlete, what Selman does off the ice is just as important as what he does on it and that includes monitoring the food he puts in his body.
“I think it’s incredibly important,” Selman said. “I’ve heard from numerous people that it’s 90 percent what you eat and 10 percent what you do in the gym. You can work out as much as you want but if you’re putting in McDonald’s or fast-food it’s counterproductive, you’re kinda wasting your time.”
With just six games remaining on the regular-season schedule, Selman shouldn’t have any cheat days left as the season enters its most crucial time. Playing on a line with the B1G leaders in points Zach Hyman (43) and Dylan Larkin (38), Selman will be depended on heavily to contribute in the Wolverines offense as they make a push for a conference championship.
No. 17 MICHIGAN (9-5-0, 17-11-0)
OVERVIEW: A home-and-home series with Ohio State saw a split where the home team won both games. The Wolverines won 5-2 at Yost Arena on Sunday, where they have only played three games in 2015 but have a 10-2-0 record in Ann Arbor this season. Hyman and Larkin got back to their scoring ways against the Buckeyes last weekend. After combining for just one assist in the Minnesota series, Hyman and Larkin bounced back to produce four goals and 12 points in two games against OSU. With two games against lowly Wisconsin, UM must come away with a weekend sweep as anything less would be costly in terms of B1G standings and the national tournament.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Larkin had back-to-back multi-point games against Ohio State, totaling two goals and four assists. The last time Larkin produced such numbers on consecutive nights was against the Badgers on Jan. 23-24, as UM scored 13 goals in two games. The freshman forward could generate similar offense this week as UW has the worst defense in the conference, averaging 3.79 goals against per game. Larkin is second in the B1G with 38 points and leads the team in power-play goals (6), game-winning goals (3) and shots on goal (117).
THIS WEEKEND: vs. Wisconsin, Feb. 27-28.
MICHIGAN STATE (7-6-2, 13-14-2)
OVERVIEW: The Spartans’ season has been a tale of two teams, prominently displayed in games last weekend against the Badgers. When MSU starts fast and gets out early, the team is 11-1-2 scoring the first goal of the game. Inversely, the Spartans are an abysmal 1-11-0 when the opponent scores first. On Friday, UW scored the first and second goals of the game, which was enough to knock off MSU 2-1. The following night, two first-period goals propelled the Spartans to a dominant 3-0 shutout of the Badgers where goalie Jake Hildebrand made 31 saves. The first 20 minutes is crucial for MSU and if they have success, the Spartans can beat anyone but their defense-heavy approach does not favor playing from behind on the scoreboard.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Forward Ryan Keller scored both of MSU’s first-period goals on Saturday, coming four minutes apart and helped them get out to an early lead. It was the third time this season that Keller has scored the first goal of a game and has assisted on another. The Spartans are 4-0-1 when Keller records a goal and while relying on one person to get the offense started is not likely, it is apparent that the team feeds off of his energy and production. The Spartans will need similar success from Keller as MSU is 1-4-3 against Minnesota in the last three seasons and hasn’t won in Minneapolis since Nov. 26, 2010.
THIS WEEKEND: at Minnesota, Feb. 26-27.
No. 15 MINNESOTA (9-3-3, 18-10-3)
OVERVIEW: Sam Warning scored with 40 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 3-3, but Penn State prevailed in overtime to win on Saturday, handing the Gophers their first loss in a month. Minnesota bounced back on Thursday with a 5-3 win against MSU and could add another one on Friday, as they outscored the Spartans 13-6 in three games this season. The Gophers should separate themselves in the standings as they have been playing some of their best hockey in February with a 6-1-0 record for the month. Minnesota moved into first place with 30 points after Thursday’s win and will need another win to keep pace in the standings.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Mike Reilly recorded his ninth multi-point game of the season picking up a goal and two assists on Thursday. With that effort, Reilly has set a new career-high in points for a season and should continue to build on that with five games remaining. He has three goals and 13 points in nine career games against the Spartans and should have another strong performance on Friday. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound junior leads all B1G defensemen with six goals and 35 points and tops the conference with 20 power-play points. He also leads the Gophers with a plus-19 rating, 99 shots on goal and has 36 blocked shots.
THIS WEEKEND: vs. Michigan State, Feb. 26-27.
OHIO STATE (4-10-0, 9-17-2)
OVERVIEW: The Buckeyes shocked the B1G knocking off the conference’s top team with a 5-3 win over UM on Friday. Chalk it up to being a rivalry game or playing in the comforts of Columbus, but it has got to be a major confidence boost for an OSU team that has lost eight of the last 10 games. The Buckeyes have the conference’s worst penalty kill, eliminating 73 percent of shorthanded opportunities but they came up big against UM going 4-for-4 in the weekend’s win and are 9-of-11 in the last four games. The next four games are against two of the conference’s top teams in PSU and Minnesota. Both of those series are at home for OSU, where the team has won three of the last five games.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior Matt Johnson scored two goals and an assist in the Buckeyes’ 5-3 win over the Wolverines, it was the third time this season that Johnson tallied three points and the second time he has done so against UM. With 17 points, Johnson is second on the team and has set a new career-high in his fourth season for the Buckeyes. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound forward has points in five of the team’s nine wins this season including a 5-4 overtime win against PSU in January. For the Buckeyes to pull off another upset this weekend, Johnson will have to be at the forefront of the team’s offensive effort.
THIS WEEKEND: vs. Penn State, Feb. 27-28.
PENN STATE (8-5-1, 16-10-4)
OVERVIEW: The Nittany Lions snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 overtime win against the Gophers on Saturday. Prior to that, PSU had managed just three goals in three games as the high-powered offense came to a halt. This weekend’s matchup against OSU provides the Nittany Lions an opportunity to get back on track, as the Buckeyes give up 3.54 goals per game. Forwards Casey Bailey (35), Taylor Holstrom (29), Eric Scheid (25) and David Goodwin (25) are in the top 10 in the B1G in points, providing PSU with plenty of offensive weapons. The last time these two teams met, the Nittany Lions struck for eight goals in two games and could produce similar numbers in the series rematch.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Scott Conway scored two goals and an assist in the Nittany Lions’ win, giving him 22 points and is the second-highest scoring freshman in the conference behind UM’s Larkin. The team is 9-1-3 when Conway records a point and he has been on the stat sheet in seven of the last eight PSU victories. Conway provides a great source of secondary scoring in relief of the B1G’s top forward line of Bailey, Holstrom and Goodwin. Conway’s line produced three goals in a 4-1 win the last time the Nittany Lions played the Buckeyes, and PSU may rely on its second line yet again going on the road this week.
THIS WEEKEND: at Ohio State, Feb. 27-28.
WISCONSIN (2-10-2, 4-20-4)
OVERVIEW: The Badgers’ 2-1 win over MSU marked the first time this season that they won consecutive games on the schedule. While they may be buried in the B1G standings, UW’s young squad is starting to turn a corner and gain some momentum late in the season and could squeak out a few more wins with series against UM, MSU and OSU remaining. The Badgers nearly pulled off the upset against the Wolverines a month ago, jumping out to an early 4-1 lead before giving up six unanswered goals. The Wolverines have struggled against good goaltending with a 2-1 loss to MSU’s Jake Hildebrand and a 2-0 loss to Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox. The Badgers’ goalie Joel Rumpel is fully capable of stealing a game for his team with a big performance on the road.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Rumpel ranks fourth in the nation with an average of 31.2 saves per game. He has made at least 30 saves in 15 games this season after having just eight all of last season. Rumpel is fifth on UW’s career victories list for goaltenders with 53 wins and has started 21 consecutive games, matching the longest stretch of his career. The last four games have been the best stretch of the season for Rumpel with a .942 save percentage and 2.03 goals against average. The senior could play an important role in dictating the outcome of this game with a strong performance in net.
THIS WEEKEND: at Michigan, Feb. 27-28.
The Big Ten will descend on Joe Louis Arena for the first time from March 19-21 as the conference’s championship tournament will be staged in Detroit with all five games set to air live on the Big Ten Network. All-session ticket packages, which include one ticket to all five games of the tournament, start at $45, and are now on sale at the JLA box office (313-471-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at OlympiaEntertainment.com.
The top two seeds entering the tournament receive byes through the opening-round games, which will take place March 19 at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. The semifinals are scheduled for March 20 at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., with the championship game set to follow on March 21 at 8 p.m.