ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan was almost upset for the second Friday in a row, but an offensive outburst by sophomore Brandon Kaleniecki helped the Wolverines squeak past Quinnipiac, 5-4. Kaleniecki scored four goals, including the game-winner with 3:22 left to play.
“(Kaleniecki) was one of our best off players in just the effort,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “He worked hard, he hit, he checked, he backchecked. He did all the little things you have to do well, and then the puck started coming to him. So his work ethic paid off.”
Michigan, which suffered a surprising 8-3 loss at Miami on October 10, improved its record to 3-1-0.
Kaleniecki found the net on Michigan’s first shot of the game, 2:20 into the opening period. David Moss recorded his first of three assists on the play. Michigan’s Eric Nystrom and Quinnipiac’s Joe Dumais also scored, and the Wolverines led 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
But Quinnipiac broke loose with a three-goal second period. Aaron Ludwig scored a shorthanded goal after Michigan goaltender Al Montoya made a sliding save against Ty Deinema. Ludwig knocked in the rebound.
After Kaleniecki notched his second goal, Quinnipiac’s Chris White beat Montoya with a one-timer, and Craig Falite tipped in the puck 20 seconds later to put the Bobcats up 4-3.
The Wolverines stole the momentum early in the third. Kaleniecki beat goaltender Jamie Holden stick-side at 2:02. Michigan quickly put the puck in the net again, but the officials waved off the goal because Moss kicked it in.
It looked like the Bobcats would play their third overtime in as many games until Kaleniecki banged in his fourth goal as time wound down.
“No question, we got rattled [early in the third], and the crowd got going,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “They came out in the third with a killer instinct, and they put us away.”
The Wolverines weren’t satisfied with the way they played.
“We’re still struggling quite a bit for some reason,” Kaleniecki said. “We need to figure it out pretty soon because … they obviously played a very good game, but we just didn’t have it going for us. It just wasn’t a 60-minute game.”
Berenson called his team’s defense “loose.” Michigan played three freshman defensemen, but Berenson said it was the veteran blueliners who need to play better. Senior Andy Burnes and juniors Brandon Rogers and Eric Werner combined for a 0 plus-minus rating.
Holden faced 41 shots, and the Bobcats left Kaleniecki wide open for three of his goals. Falite said he expects better defense.
“It was surprising because coming into a game like that, one of your strategies is to play defense and not have mental breakdowns,” Falite said. “But I think sometimes we got a little tired, the crowd got going, and we got running around instead of just being smart.”
Before the game, Berenson addressed the crowd. With his young grandson at his side, the coach asked the Yost Ice Arena fans to refrain from yelling obscenities. He made a similar request in a letter that was sent to season-ticket holders earlier in the week.
Michigan objects to one particular chant, which the student section shouts after a penalty is called against the opposing team. Some fans continued the chant throughout the game but were booed.