ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When Jeff Tambellini beat Justin Eddy early in the second period Saturday, he must have been thinking, ‘Finally.’ Michigan pounded the Quinnipiac goaltender with 21 shots in the first 20 minutes, but he turned them all away.
“I think by the 20th shot, I deserved a couple,” Tambellini joked.
But when the sophomore forward did break through, he didn’t get a couple goals — he got three as the Wolverines completed a hard-fought weekend sweep of the Bobcats with a 3-2 win.
Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold called Eddy’s play “phenomenal.” The senior faced 54 shots on goal and kept the Bobcats in the game.
But Tambellini said the Wolverines’ confidence didn’t waver.
“It wasn’t frustrating,” Tambellini said. “I don’t think it really mattered how much we got down; I knew we were going to get the next one. It felt good on my stick tonight, and I knew it was going to come.”
Michigan controlled the puck on the power play for much of the first period, and the Bobcats got off just two shots in the first frame. Eddy made several point-blank stops to hold the Wolverines scoreless.
Tom Watkins was called for Quinnipiac’s seventh penalty of the game 30 seconds into the second period, and Tambellini slipped in a wrist shot on the ensuing power play. Brandon Rogers and T.J. Hensick assisted on the goal.
Tambellini struck again at 14:32 when Eddy got in trouble while clearing the puck. Michigan’s David Rohlfs came up with it and sent it to Tambellini, who threaded in a bad-angle shot.
Quinnipiac struggled to generate any offense, spending most of its time in its own zone. But Tim Morrison put the Bobcats on the board in the final minute of the period with a power-play goal off of a Ryan Morton pass.
The Bobcats did a better job of staying out of the penalty box in the third and kept Michigan goaltender Al Montoya busier than in the first two periods. Chris White picked the left corner and knotted the game at two early in the third.
But Quinnipiac couldn’t hang onto the momentum. Tambellini put Michigan back on top and finished off the hat trick at 12:40 after Hensick won a faceoff.
The Bobcats were whistled for 26 minutes worth of penalties, and although they killed nine of 10 Michigan’s power plays, all of that shorthanded time took its toll.
“That’s hard, to expend that much energy killing penalties, and then we didn’t have as much left to play five-on-five hockey,” Pecknold said. “But I’m still proud of my guys. We came in and played probably a top-five program in the country and hung with them for two nights, so I think there’s a lot of confidence we’ll get out of that.”
Tambellini said that Michigan had “underestimated” Quinnipiac Friday night. The Wolverines were happier with their effort Saturday.
“We wanted the puck, we were hungry, we were strong, and that’s all mental,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “That’s an attitude we have to get on this team on a consistent basis.”
Dwight Helminen did not play for the Wolverines because of an ankle injury. Tambellini’s one-man show gave him four goals on the season, tying him with Brandon Kaleniecki, who scored all four of his goals Friday night.