ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With seven goals by seven different players, the Wolverines have broken their four-game winless Friday night streak, beating Lake Superior State, 7-2, the first night of this two-game home set.
By way of explaining the cup of coffee he brought to the post-game press conference, Michigan’s head coach quipped, “I’ve got to stay up and watch the game again and see if I saw what I thought I saw.”
What Red Berenson and everyone else witnessed was every UM forward earning a point tonight except for one, Jacob Fallon. Everyone assembled also saw senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick earn his second win of the season, as he’s been the goalie of record for many of Michigan’s Friday night games.
“It’s a big win for him, too,” said Berenson. “A lot of the Friday night-Saturday night talk has been centered around goalies and I’ve tried to diffuse that, because I don’t think that’s been the case. It’s still a reality that we’ve got to win on Friday, so that was a big win.”
The Wolverines were up 4-2 after the first period, so everyone in attendance also saw a Lake Superior State team that did not take the ice as planned, said LSSU head coach Jim Roque.
“I just thought that Michigan competed a lot harder than we did, on pucks, battled hard, and they got a quick lead on us,” said Roque. “You can’t fall behind 4-1 on Michigan, on no team in the country. That was our biggest mistake right there. We wanted to have a big, solid first period and didn’t. I thought they worked really hard.
“Give credit to Michigan. They looked like a team that wanted to get over this Friday night jinx thing they have. They worked really, really hard. I thought the second period we battled hard, but you can’t play hard for twenty minutes at Yost. We only scored two goals in the game. That sure doesn’t help.”
The teams swapped a pair of goals less than a minute apart early in the first, with Jon Merrill opening the scoring for Michigan at 4:53 and Kyle Haines answering at 5:50. David Wohlberg put UM ahead 2-1 at 6:49 after picking up Luke Glendening’s rebound, and Ben Winnett scored the eventual game-winner, on the fly and unassisted after stealing the puck in the neutral zone, at 14:26.
After A.J. Treais made it 4-1 at 19:07, that should have put the game away, but Haines netted his second goal of the night, just beating the buzzer at 19:59 to make it 4-2 after one.
That’s the kind of goal, said Berenson, that might have forced the Wolverines to struggle in previous contests.
“From watching our team, even early in the year, we had a 4-1 lead in the third period and we gave it up,” said Berenson. “We gave up leads to a couple of other teams along the way, so it was important that we put a good third period together.”
Both teams put together a good second period. When the Lakers took the ice at the start of the second, Brian Mahoney-Wilson was in net for LSSU; Kevin Kapalka – who had back-to-back shutouts against Ferris State last weekend – gave up the first four goals of the game. Carl Hagelin had the only goal of the second period, at 11:36 after Michigan busted an odd-man Laker rush the other way. Kevin Lynch and Scooter Vaughan capped the scoring in the third.
Roque admitted after the game that he had had second thoughts about starting Kapalka, a freshman, in spite of the goalie’s performance last weekend.
“I’m the only one that shouldn’t have started tonight,” said Roque, who said that he felt bad for Kapalka about the decision to start him. “You know what? He’s a freshman, he’s a young kid, this is an intimidating place. Hind sight’s twenty-twenty, but I just knew. I know he had two shutouts last weekend, but he wasn’t overly tested. He’d tell you that too.”
Kapalka finished the night with eight saves on 12 shots; Mahoney-Wilson stopped 26-of-29 in the final two periods of play. Hunwick made 22 saves in the win.
The Lakers (5-6-2, 3-5-1-0 CCHA) and Wolverines (7-3-3, 6-2-1-0) meet again at 7:35 p.m. in Yost Ice Arena Saturday.