ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Shawn Hunwick’s shutout goaltending and a balanced scoring attack paced Michigan to a 4-0 win over Ferris State Friday night at Yost Ice Arena, giving the No. 4 Wolverines a two-game series sweep over the No. 6 Bulldogs.
Hunwick turned aside 24 shots, and heard several others clank off the pipes behind him in his shutout performance.
“We gave up 24 or 25 shots, but not too many tough saves,” pointed out Hunwick. “The defense played really well. They kept the puck to the outside and limited turnovers, picking up all the rebounds that I gave up.”
A.J. Treais and Chris Brown each had a goal and an assist at the other end of the ice for the Wolverines.
“Even though the score was worse (than Thursday’s opener), I thought we played better tonight,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “I thought we had a little more jump. I think, chance-wise, we were okay tonight. We just couldn’t convert on our chances. I’m not saying we would have won, but I think it would have been a pretty close game. I don’t think the score was indicative of the way the game was played.”
Michigan coach Red Berenson agreed with Daniels’ assessment.
“I didn’t think it was a 4-0 game,” suggested Berenson. “I thought they were always in the game. The goals were huge. Every goal was huge in this game, and the goal posts were obviously in our favor tonight. Our goalie played really well. I think they’re a better team than they showed tonight. The puck didn’t go in for them, but it went in for us.”
Berenson was also quick to point out the positive offensive play from his freshman class.
“Last year, we had proven scorers trying to score that couldn’t score.” started Berenson. “This year, we’ve got unproven scorers that are scoring. So, I think it’s good that they’re trying to prove that they can score, particularly the freshmen.
“(Alex) Guptill has come in and scored and Zach Hyman is playing just as well as any of them. He might only have one goal, but he is contributing. (Phil) Di Giuseppe is playing well. All the freshmen are helping our team.”
Ferris State certainly had an opportunity to score in the initial period with nearly six minutes of power play advantage, including a lengthy four-on-three. Michigan however, escaped with a 1-0 20-minute lead on the strength of Guptill’s third goal of his rookie campaign.
Guptill took a drop pass from Derek DeBlois in the right corner, skated directly toward the net, and beat Ferris State goaltender C.J. Motte from close range at 5:38.
As they did in Thursday night’s opening game of the series, Michigan jumped to a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Unlike the opener, when the Wolverines allowed Ferris State back into the game, Michigan took command of the middle period, scoring yet another goal to pull away to a 4-0 two-period lead.
Travis Lynch started the middle period scoring sequence for Michigan at 3:20 when he picked up a bouncing puck on Motte’s doorstep and slammed it by the freshman Bulldogs netminder.
Less than two minutes later, at 5:02, a trailing Treais cleaned up a two-on-one break by Di Giuseppe and Brown.
In the penalty-filled second period, the Wolverines struck again when Di Giuseppe fed Brown in the slot. Brown rifled a shot high over Motte’s outstretched glove hand at 14:20 to give Michigan a commanding 4-0 lead, which they maintained through the third period.
“Even though we only scored two goals on the weekend, I think we’ve got to work on the defensive side,” Daniels said. “I think we would have scored more goals if we’d have been better defensively. We would have created more opportunities at their end of the rink. I think it all starts at our end of the rink, and that’s the first thing we’re going to address.”
Assessing the weekend sweep, Berenson said, “I learned that if we are really focused and dialed in, we can play well defensively. Then, if we lose that focus, we get on the wrong side of the puck and we can play like a heart-attack type of game. We did a little bit of that at times tonight. We want to take pride in our goals against, and we’ll score goals by playing good, honest, Michigan hockey.”
Michigan (6-1-1, 2-1-1-1 CCHA) stays at home in the cozy confines of Yost Arena next weekend, hosting Western Michigan for a pair of games. Ferris State (6-2-0, 2-2-0-0 CCHA) remains on the road next weekend, traveling to Bowling Green for a two-game series.