DETROIT — Going into the title game of the CCHA Super Six as underdogs may have been unfamiliar territory for the Michigan Wolverines, but the rest of the scenario was nothing but dj vu for the defending Mason Cup champions.
Senior Jed Ortmeyer netted two goals, fellow senior John Shouneyia had two helpers, Rookie of the Year Jeff Tambellini scored one and assisted once, and defenseman Brandon Rogers registered three assists as Michigan captured its second consecutive Mason Cup with a 5-3 win over regular-season champion Ferris State.
Michigan head coach Red Berenson gave credit for the win to his senior class.
“I think you need your best players to be your best players, and I’ve always said that you have to be as good as your seniors, and I think you saw that tonight in the way John Shouneyia played, Jed Ortmeyer, Mark Mink — to a man, our seniors really stepped up, and Jed had the opportunity to make a difference offensively, defensively.”
Michael Woodford scored the game-winning goal. Chris Kunitz had one goal, and Simon Mangos had a goal and an assist for the Bulldogs.
“I thought we played pretty well, and as the game went on we got better and better,” said FSU head coach Bob Daniels. “I think both teams expended a great deal of energy in the first two periods, and by the time we got to the third, it was tough being two goals down.”
Tambellini opened the scoring for the Wolverines at 4:25 in the first, a puck that bounced off an FSU defender and went in right between the legs of a screened Mike Brown.
When Nick Martens was called for obstruction-holding at 10:26, and the Bulldogs capitalized just after the ensuing faceoff won by Jeff Legue. Legue passed to Mangos in the left corner, and Mangos centered to Kunitz, whose shot from high in the slot beat Al Montoya clean at 10:47.
The first period ended 1-1.
Ortmeyer’s two second-period goals — one even strength and one on the power play — gave the Wolverines a 3-1 lead going into the third.
Mangos’ goal early in the third cut the Michigan lead in half, but Woodford answered with just his fifth goal of the year two minutes later to put the Wolverines ahead for good. Matt York tallied again for Ferris State at the 17-minute mark to keep the Bulldogs’ hopes alive, but Helminen sealed it with the empty-net goal at 19:55.
“It’s a great achievement for the Michigan hockey program,” said Berenson of the postseason title, the sixth in the school’s history. “We’ve had adversity. We lost some great players last summer. We had injuries to two of our top players the first half of the year — Ortmeyer and Shouneyia — but our team really came together in the stretch run.
“We had a tough schedule, we found a way to stay in the hunt and then to get down here to Joe Louis. The competition is the best I’ve seen it.
“I think the game was a great team effort by Michigan, but your leaders and your seniors set the tone and I think the young players respond.”
Ortmeyer and his classmates have played in three consecutive CCHA title games, losing to Michigan State 2-0 in 2001, and beating the Spartans 3-2 at the end of last season, so this experience was nothing new to them, but he said they relished it just the same.
“We like to play in big games. That’s the reason you go to Michigan, to play in a game like this. I like to play physical, and they’re a hard-nosed team. It’s hard to get the puck behind their D.”
“Our players played very well tonight, played very hard,” said Daniels. “I couldn’t ask anything more of our team and our players.”
Both Michigan (28-9-3) at Ferris State (30-9-1) will find out in Sunday’s NCAA selection show where they’ll be seeded in the tournament. As a host team, Michigan will play in Yost Arena next weekend, but the Bulldogs won’t know where they’re going until the show.