Which was the Best Michigan Hockey Team over the last 20 some years?

Submitted by g_reaper3 on March 13th, 2011 at 4:39 PM

The 1996 team is on every banner so that is a logical choice.  However, I have always thought the 1997 team was better, a bad 2nd period against Boston U in the Frozen Four led to their elimination 3-2.  The 2008 team accomplished quite a bit as well, losing a Frozen Four game in OT to Notre Dame, I believe .  This years team needs to win its next 6 games and it will match the 1996 team for being on every banner but obviously, these are a hard 6 games.

I summarized some key metrics below.  Your thoughts on Michigan's best team over the last 20 odd years?


GLI Tourney CCHA Reg Season CCHA Tourney NCAA Tourney Frozen Four NCAA Champs Record Winning %
1989           24-12-6 64%
1990     1991     34-10-3 76%
1991 1992   1992 1992   32-9-3 76%
1992     1993 1993   30-7-3 79%
1993 1994 1994 1994     33-7-1 78%
1994 1995   1995 1995   30-8-1 78%
1995 1996* 1996 1996 1996 1996 34-7-2 81%
1996 1997 1997 1997 1997   35-4-4 86%
      1998 1998 1998 34-11-1 75%
    1999 1999     25-11-6 67%
  2000   2000     27-10-4 71%
      2001 2001   27-13-5 66%
  2002 2002 2002 2002   28-11-5 69%
    2003 2003 2003   30-10-3 73%
  2004   2004     27-14-2 65%
  2005 2005 2005     31-8-3 77%
      2006     21-15-5 57%
      2007     26-14-1 65%
2007 2008 2008 2008 2008   33-6-4 81%
2008     2009     29-12-0 85%
    2010 2010     26-18-1 59%
2010 2011   2011     25-9-4 71%
*  Tie              




March 13th, 2011 at 4:49 PM ^

The 1994 team was solid. Steve Shields in goal (he set the NCAA record for wins, until Turco came in). Mike Knuble on the ice as well. UM was #1 or #2 in the country most of the year, the other top team that year, Lake State. Michigan had beating Lake St many times that year, including in the CCHA finals. What does the NCAA committee do? They put UM and LSSU in the same bracket at Munn. What a reward. They were the best 2 teams in the country that year by far. Well, Lake St wins in OT and goes on to win the National Title. That was a heart breaker.

Worst part of that day - watching the Great 8 game that year UM (Fab 4, all but Webber) loss to Arkansas for the right to go to the Final Four.

Total dong punch that year, my Sr. Year....




March 13th, 2011 at 5:10 PM ^

6 guys over 50 points (slightly different era with less talent at other CCHA schools and worse goaltending, but still!) headlined by Morrison's 88 (in 43 games!).  Everyone was a plus player, with 12 guys being +20 or better.  They scored 22 short handed goals and allowed 35 power play goals.

The stats are kind of silly to look at.


March 13th, 2011 at 5:45 PM ^

(that's John U Bacon's book on Michigan hockey)


They had offense. While Morrison's men allowed only 98 total goals against them all season, they scored a staggering 91 goals themselves on the power play alone, more than two per game, for a success rate of over 30 percent. They scored 7 or more goals 14 times, which would have resulted in a lot of football scores if football rules allowed the losing team to score only one point. The team's 242 total goals-almost 6 per game-were the third most in school history..."

I think Bacon would agree that '97 was the best too. 6 goals per game is truly insane. (I also highly recommend that everyone read Blue Ice sometime. It's fascinating)


March 13th, 2011 at 4:51 PM ^

The 1997 team was also the best - Morrison wins the Hobey and Red finally says, "Sometimes the best team in the country doesn't win the National Title."  We should have had 3 in a row, and could have had a run going of 4 or 5 in a row if you look at the 94 team (see above) or 95....

Michigan Arrogance

March 13th, 2011 at 5:45 PM ^

1997 and it's not even close. they got upset by a solid BU team in teh national semis.

1994, 1995, 1996 all probably tie for 2nd.


the more interesting question, IME is where to they rank with the best teams of the decade.


Maine (1992 IIRC)

MICH 1997

LSSU 1991

Minn 1999 (IIRC)

BU 1996 (IIRC)


 these may be the top 5


March 13th, 2011 at 7:17 PM ^

The 2004-2005 team was really good, at least offensively.  They were crazy inconsistent all year but went into the tournament hot and absolutely smashed Wisconsin in the first round.  In the 2nd round against Colorado College (who I think might have been the #1 overall seed) they got up 3-0 right out of the gate and things could not have looked better.  Unfortunately as was typical for mid-to-late-00's teams defensive lapses and shaky goaltending doomed them and they ended up blowing the game. 

In terms of having pure talent at forward that team was really loaded.  Tambellini, Hensick, Nystrom, younger versions of Porter and Kolarik.  Even the 3/4 line types on that team like Moss and Ebbett are NHL contributors now.     

Bando Calrissian

March 13th, 2011 at 8:00 PM ^

I've never seen a team as good and as universally exciting as that 96-7 team.  Those weekends at Yost were an absolute joy.  Absolutely dominant in every phase of the game all season long.

2007-8 was special, too, and may have had more raw talent, but I never felt that team played as complete of a game as they could have.


March 13th, 2011 at 8:30 PM ^

While they may not be the best team of the last 20 years, I would the say '04/'05 team may be the best from the last decade.

They should have done some damage in the tournamet, but instead-- in what is definitely my worst michigan hockey memory-- blew a 3-0 lead to colorado college and lost a virtual home game in Grand Rapids, MI, in the 2nd round of the tournament. 


March 14th, 2011 at 9:28 AM ^

I will go with '97 as well. To go with michigandad, I think that was the year that in a game against Ferris (I think) we went 4 for 4 on our powerplay and scored 2 shorthanded goals on the three Ferris PP's.

Yes, we went 2 for 3 on Ferris' powerplay.


March 13th, 2011 at 9:28 PM ^

The 1996-97 squad featured Brenden Morrison, Marty Turco, Mike Legg, Matt Herr, John Madden, Jason Botterill, and Bill Muckalt.  These guys all went on to have good to great NHL careers.  They weren't just Red's greatest team, they were one of the greatest college hockey teams ever.  As much as not winning the National Championship hurt in 1997, I always considered the improbable 1998 win as karma paying us back.


March 14th, 2011 at 5:56 PM ^

Good input.  As I reflect upon it, I remember thinking how the 1998 team didn't have much of a chance prior to the NCAA tourney starting at Yost.  First time since the 1990 season that they hadn't won something by the end of the CCHA tourney.  But they were 30-11-1 at that point.  The previous teams and their incredible run from 92 on really spoiled for me to think that.  We have only won more than 30 games in a season twice in the dozen seasons since.