GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the third straight year, Shawn Hunwick will return home to Ann Arbor with nightmares of allowing an overtime game-winning goal.
After helping his No. 2 Michigan Wolverines force overtime against the No. 14 Cornell Big Red, the senior netminder made one great save, only to see the rebound sneak past him and teammate Jon Merrill.
For sophomore Rodger Craig, his second goal of the year only slightly tops his first goal of the season, a third-period tally against Union back on Feb. 25.
“That’s definitely the best goal that I’ve ever scored,” said Craig. “Everyone put in a great effort tonight and it’s nice to come out on top.”
Unlike last weekend during the CCHA tournament, the Wolverines (24-13-4) appeared ready to go from the opening faceoff and they got to Big Red goaltender Andy Iles just 1:11 into play.
Captain Luke Glendening scored during a goal mouth scramble after picking up the puck from junior center A.J. Treais. The goal, Glendening’s tenth of the season, was also assisted by freshman winger Phil Di Giuseppe.
“Obviously, that wasn’t the start that we wanted to have,” said Iles. “I wasn’t going to let that deteriorate my play from there. I felt confident out there.”
The Wolverines appeared to strike again less than a minute later when junior center Kevin Lynch buried another goal mouth scramble puck past Iles. Big Red head coach Mike Schafer burned his timeout and the goal was disallowed upon review.
“I liked the way our team started,” said Wolverines’ coach Red Berenson. “The goal that was disallowed was obviously a factor in the game. I was wondering why it was being reviewed. Give Cornell credit, they got back in the game.”
The official verdict, delivered by a spokesperson, was the goal was washed out because of illegal contact with the goaltender in the crease that didn’t allow Iles to play his position.
Building off the momentum of the disallowed goal, the Big Red offense began to chip away at the Wolverines’ defense and eventually, they managed to tie the game when freshman winger John McCarron scored at the 10:10 mark of the opening period with a long shot on the power play. McCarron’s goal was assisted by assistant captain Sean Collins and junior defenseman Braden Birch.
The Wolverines had a great opportunity to regain their lead thanks to 1:32 of power-play time to start the second period, but it was the Big Red who capitalized when freshman defenseman Joakim Ryan beat Hunwick at the 40-second mark thanks to a well-timed pass from Collins.
After the Big Red (19-8-7) took the lead, they started to play more physical hockey and it nearly cost them as they were whistled for six penalties over the 20-minute period. Those penalties included a five-minute major to sophomore winger Armand De Swardt for contact to the head. The Wolverines picked up 13 shots on goal during their five power-play chances, but failed to find the equalizer.
“It was a different game than we faced this year with the amount of penalties that were called in the game and the type of penalties that were called in the game,” explained Schafer. “Michigan’s got a great power play.”
Lynch finally managed to solve Iles with just over four minutes remaining in the third period to force overtime when he picked up a rebound off a shot from sophomore winger Luke Moffat at 15:59. Sophomore defenseman Mac Bennett also assisted on the play.
The Wolverines carried their momentum into the overtime period and appeared poised to end the game quickly, but Iles, who made 31 saves on the night, had other ideas.
Iles made a key save in front of his own net and pushed the puck to his defenseman. From there, the puck was moved up ice to sophomore Dustin Mowrey, who hit junior center Greg Miller with a pass. Miller’s shot was stopped by Hunwick, but no Michigan defender was able to catch up with Craig crashing the net and he buried the puck for the game winner.
Hunwick finished his collegiate career with a 21-save performance.
The Wolverines’ power play struggled mightily all night long, eventually finishing zero-for-seven on the night.
The Big Red will return to action Saturday night to face the Ferris State Bulldogs, who beat the Denver Pioneers earlier Friday night.
Video: Cornell’s Rodger Craig:
Video: Cornell coach Mike Schafer:
Video: Cornell’s Andy Iles, Sean Collins and Schafer:
Video: Michigan coach Red Berenson:
Video: Michigan’s Shawn Hunwick and Kevin Lynch: