ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Louie Caporusso and Carl Hagelin supplied the offense and Shawn Hunwick was flawless in goal.
That’s all Michigan needed to best Lake Superior, 6-0, Saturday night at Yost Arena, sweeping the Lakers in two games and advancing to the second round of the CCHA playoffs.
Pending the outcome of the Alaska-Western Michigan series this weekend, the Wolverines will either visit Michigan State or Ferris State in the next round of the conference post-season.
“I thought we got a lot of good bounces tonight,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “Some of the goals were lucky goals, but when you’re working hard, it seems you get lucky. Hunwick made a couple of key isolated saves that became a factor in the direction of the game.
“If you have momentum, your best players should be your best players. Your team should be playing like a team and you should be playing well defensively. I think we’re getting all that. Lake State is a good team and they’re good character kids. We knew they would come out with a desperate attack. They forechecked. They worked really hard. Give them credit. They did not give up.”
Caporusso’s hat trick boosted his season’s total to 16 goals. Hagelin’s two markers allowed him to keep pace with Caporusso for the team lead in goals with a matching 16 tallies.
“Sometimes they go in,” said Caporusso of his offensive burst. “I had one intention, and that was to work hard. Put things to the net. I got the bounces and came out on top.”
Hunwick’s shutout was his second whitewashing in the four games he’s played since replacing injured Bryan Hogan in net for Michigan.
“It was huge,” said Hunwick of the early lead his team presented to him. “My previous three games, we had a lead right away. It was nice to make a few saves to keep us in it when it was zero-zero.
“I’ve worked hard for my opportunity. Maybe, some people said when I was coming in here that I didn’t deserve to be here. So, I have something to work for. ”
Michigan jumped to an early lead and never looked back against the Lakers, who were decimated by the flu bug for the weekend series.
Caporusso’s pair of first period goals sandwiched Jeff Rohrkemper’s career first as Michigan jumped to a 3-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.
On a completely individual effort, Caporusso opened the scoring at 6:37 of the opening period. The Wolverines’ junior center won the faceoff ahead from the left circle, fanned on his original shot attempt, took the puck behind the net and finally converted on a wraparound effort.
Making only his 13th game appearance of the season, Rohrkemper took advantage of a nice play by teammate Chad Langlais at 14:00. Langlais carried the puck from his own blue line into the Lakers’ zone to the high slot. The puck drifted off Langlais’ stick to Rohrkemper, who buried a wicked snap shot over Mahoney-Wilson’s shoulder.
Caporusso’s second goal of the first period was another unassisted play. At 15:33, he stole the puck just outside the Lake Superior zone, streaked toward the net and flicked a backhand at Mahoney-Wilson.
The puck drifted under the Lakers’ netminder a fraction of a second before the net was dislodged by Lake Superior defenseman Simon Gysbers.
A lengthy video review by the referees Dean Sanborn and Matt Shegos confirmed the validity of the goal.
Michigan matched its three-goal first period with three more in the second to take a commanding 6-0 two-period lead.
Only 46 seconds into the period as a delayed penalty was being called against Lake Superior, David Wohlberg broke deep into the right circle in the Lakers’ zone. Wohlberg spotted Caporusso alone trailing the play. Caporusso was so open that he had time to tee up the puck for a missile far side over Mahoney-Wilson’s stick.
Michigan junior left wing Carl Hagelin took over for the Wolverines’ final two goals of the second period.
At 14:18, Wolverines’ defender Steve Kampfer saved the puck at the blue line on his wrong wing, carried the puck to the goal line in the left corner and centered a pass to the front of the net. Hagelin tipped the puck past Mahoney-Wilson with a backhand to give Michigan a 5-0 bulge.
Hagelin needed no help on his second straight marker at 16:49 of the middle stanza. After an extended period of pressure on the Lakers’ goal by Michigan, Hagelin grabbed a loose puck behind the net and, in one motion, scored on a quick wraparound move for the game’s final goal.
“It’s huge for us to get out of this first round,” concluded Hunwick of the weekend series win over the Lakers.
He and his Wolverines’ teammates can now focus on their second round matchup with the eventual goal of advancing to the conference final four weekend at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.