The Vegas Golden Knights are off until Saturday and are looking to “flush” Wednesday night’s stinker of a game against the Vancouver Canucks. In the meantime, prospect Brendan Brisson has played in his semifinal game with the Michigan Wolverines in the Frozen Four.
Brisson is widely regarded to be one of the best prospects that the Golden Knights have in their organization. The six-foot, 185-pound, 20-year old, center was drafted in the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft 29th overall.
This season he had 21 goals and 21 assists for 42 points in 39 games played with the University of Michigan. He also represented the United States at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and scored two goals in four games.
Brisson plays on Michigan’s first line with Kent Johnson and Matty Beniers, two of the top draft picks from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Johnson was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets fifth overall and Beniers was picked by the Seattle Kraken second overall.
With Brisson’s play being televised nationally, we decided to do a game diary on his semifinal game against the University of Denver. Brisson and Michigan lost the game in overtime 3-2.
Denver dominated in the first period and limited Michigan to just four shots on goal. One of these shots came from the stick of Brisson, but Michigan didn’t get their first shot until 16:04 into the period.
Offensively there was not much from the Wolverines and therefore Brisson. Late in the period Brisson accidentally put his teammates’ offsides making one extra move gaining the zone. The play could have been a two-on-three rush but was whistled dead.
The first goal of the game was scored by Brett Stapley, and Brisson was on the ice for it. The play started with Denver defenseman Justin Lee, which was Brisson’s man to cover, shooting a shot from the blue line.
Goaltender Erik Portillo made the save but on the rebound Stapley scored the first goal of the Frozen Four. Brisson tried to play the pass instead of the player and it, along with Luke Hughes’s positioning, allowed for the goal to be scored.
The Wolverines tied up the game in the second with Jimmy Lambert scoring on the fourth line. Brisson was not on the ice for the game-tying goal. He had some long shifts in the second period, and the biggest thing I noticed about him in the second was his defensive awareness.
With both Hughes and Owen Power on the Wolverines Brisson, and the rest of Michigan’s forwards have to be responsible defensively when it comes to them pinching. There was a lot of this Tuesday afternoon with Brisson having to cover the point temporarily a couple of times.
Brisson will fit right in with Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo, who love to pinch offensively.
This was a theme all game, not just from the defenseman, but from all of the star players on the ice. Every player wanted to be a hero and make the flashy move and score big goals, which resulted in some sloppy defensive coverage. Typical college hockey stuff with run-and-gun wild offense at both ends.
The Wolverines loaded frequently in the third and sent out their top line and top defensive pairing to try and get the go-ahead goal. During one of these extended shifts, Brisson fired a shot but it was stopped. He also blanked on a chance later as a centering pass from Beniers just missed his stick.
The Pioneers and Wolverines traded goals in the third to make things 2-2, Brisson was not on the ice for either one of the goals. But Brisson took just the second penalty of the game with a boarding call. Luckily for Brisson, the Pioneers failed to score on the man-advantage. In regulation, the Wolverines were shorthanded three times and did not get any powerplays of their own.
ESPN moved the game to ESPN U (which I don’t have) for overtime so that they could preview opening day of baseball. I had to scramble to find a stream which took me 20 minutes and when I found one it was watermarked so I could barely follow the play. I was not in a good mood.
Carter Savoie apparently scored the game-winning goal. Congrats to him and the University of Denver. Minnesota and Minnesota state are on at 5:30.
Consensus: Brisson was not all that noticeable Thursday night. He struggled defensively a handful of times and also took a late-game penalty. Obviously, this game does not decide his entire future and he is still a top prospect in the Golden Knights organization. We’ll see him at training camp for sure.
One last thing… I was looking up highlight videos of Brisson and I found this. We are now in the age of NHL players where they are young enough to have an embarrassing YouTube Channel from when they were young. Although these stick moves are less than embarrassing.