Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Michigan Splits with Western Michigan

Photo Credit: Bill Rapai
For the second straight week, Michigan took on a highly-ranked CCHA opponent. This time, it marked the Yost debut of new WMU coach Andy Murray. In a battle of former St. Louis Blues head coaches, Murray's team drew first blood, but the Wolverines came back Saturday night to split the weekend.

On Friday night, Western jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind goals from Ian Slater and Brett Beebe. Slater banged one in off a faceoff win. Beebe's was off a 2-on-1 created by a Michigan turnover. Hunwick made the initial save, then appeared to kick the puck into the net. Mike Chiasson was, of course, on the ice for Slater's goal (marking the "minus" of his Michigan career), since it was mentioned in the media (including here, mwah mwahhhhhh) this past week that it hadn't happened.

Michigan came back with a pair of goals by defensemen. Kevin Clare tallied the first goal of his Michigan career when he picked up the puck by the side-boards and caught the goaltender still on the ice. Just over three minutes later it was Mac Bennett tying things up on a shot that Pisellini would really like to have back. The teams headed to the third period tied at 2. It remained that way until just after the students had said, "" Dane Walters popped one in with 57 seconds remaining, and that was all she wrote. I'm not really sure how that puck ended up in the net. There was a goalmouth scramble, Hunwick was down on his stomach, and then the Broncos started celebrating.

Nick Pisellini made 34 saves in the win, including all 14 that Michigan threw at him in the third period. Hunwick stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced.

The loss snapped Michigan's 20-game home winning streak. The streak ended just short of the one-year mark. The last home loss was on November 12th of last year against Notre Dame.

On Saturday, the Wolverines got outshot by 11 but rode 30 saves from Shawn Hunwick to a 5-2 win to even up the weekend. That was WMU's first loss of the season (6-1-3).

Derek DeBlois extended his point streak to 4 games with a goal in the middle of the first period to give Michigan a lead. He cleaned up the garbage after a Guptill shot hit the post. WMU came back to tie it very early in the second period on a scramble in front. Balisy got the feed, Hunwick robbed him, but the defense was tied up and Balisy was able to lift one over Shawn on the rebound. WMU then took the lead on a Derek Roehl goal at 10:18. Like DeBlois, he buried one after the initial shot hit the post and skipped out the other side.

After that, it was all Michigan on the scoreboard. Alex Guptill got things tied before intermission. He parked himself in front on the power play and was able to bang in a rebound on a Pateryn shot from the point.

The Wolverines put up 3 in the third (including an ENG). Mac Bennett scored his second goal in as many games to put Michigan ahead for good. Sparks had the puck down low. He sent it back to Bennett at the point, and Mac's shot found it's way through traffic into the net. AJ Treais added some insurance inside the five-minute mark, and then Kevin Lynch added the empty-netter for the final margin of victory.

K. Lynch was rushing the puck and it initially looked like he held onto it too long. He was forced behind the net, but got the puck centered to Treais, who shot it home.

The win takes Michigan to 3-2-1-1 in the CCHA, which is good for a three-way tie for fourth place, four points behind conference leader Lake Superior State(!). All the teams at the top of the standings have played 6 conference games.

This weekend, the Wolverines head down to Oxford, OH to take on the Miami RedHawks. Blasi's team had lost five in a row, but righted the ship with a pair of 2-1 wins at Alaska last weekend. More on them later.

1 comment:

streaker said...

Hunwick was a victim of Mac Bennett's stick pushing the winning goal (by WMU friday) between his legs as he laid on his stomach, legs spread eagle.

Tough game to lose, nice rebound saturday.

More alarming is Hunwick is beginning to look human again. Didn't play well (to his standards) the last stretch of games.