It has been a scary couple of days for Michigan hockey fans.
Fifth-year senior netminder Shawn Hunwick took a puck to the facemask during the second period of the Wolverines’ 4-2 win over Lake Superior State on Friday night. Hunwick, who was visibly shaken, remained in the game for the duration of the period before surrendering his duties to sophomore Adam Janecyk.
While the specifics of the injury were never confirmed, it was severe enough to keep Hunwick out of Saturday’s series finale against the Lakers — a game Michigan dropped in a shootout — as well as Monday’s practice session.
But Monday, Michigan coach Red Berenson had good news for those questioning the goaltender’s status, as the Wolverines prepare for arguably the biggest weekend of the season thus far when they will face league-leading Ohio State.
“He’s feeling good,” Berenson said, indicating the decision to keep him off the ice was merely precautionary. “He should skate (Tuesday).”
Hunwick will be ready to face the Buckeyes this weekend, he said.
Last weekend, fans got their first meaningful look at Janecyk, though he first appeared in a game against Northern Michigan in October after Hunwick was ejected for throwing a punch. But the man between the pipes against Lake Superior State didn’t resemble the shaky youngster who let a tied game slip away and become the Wolverines’ first loss of the season.
“(Janecyk) surprised me,” Berenson said. “It’s a tough situation to throw a guy in. If I’m the starting goalie, I’d rather get thrown in on the road than at home.”
Berenson cited friends and family in attendance as reasons why a back-up netminder might prefer the road atmosphere for a stint in net. But Janecyk seemed unfazed by it all, pausing only momentarily to take it all in before the shootout began.
“It was kind of surreal to finally be out there,” Janecyk said. “(Especially) with it being my game and everything.”
Janecyk texted his father immediately after being told he would start Saturday night. Bob Janecyk, a former NHL goaltender and current scout for the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League, dropped his assignment and bolted for Yost.
For now, it seems Janecyk will return to his second-string role. When asked if the starting job was something that might be in the cards, Janecyk seemed tentative.
“I couldn’t tell you that,” Janecyk said. “I guess time will tell or whatever.”
GUPTILL ABSENT, TOO: Hunwick wasn’t the only Wolverine taking the start of the week to heal.
Freshman forward Alex Guptill was on the receiving end of a vicious slash against Lake Superior State on Saturday night. Guptill, who’s currently tied for the team lead along with senior forward David Wohlberg for most goals scored with 10, fell to the ice, where he lay face down.
Berenson noted that the decision to keep him out of practice was also precautionary and that Guptill “should be ready” come Friday night’s series opener in Columbus.
In Guptill’s absence, junior forward Jeff Rohrkemper held his place on Michigan’s most consistent line of late, which includes Wohlberg and junior forward Chris Brown.
Junior forward Lindsay Sparks, who has been listed as a healthy scratch in each of the last five games, rode an exercise bike while the team practiced. He occasionally plays alongside Rohrkemper in practice.
“His hip was bothering him,” Berenson said. “He had to have an injection. So we let him take the day off. He’ll be back tomorrow.”
This allowed for some tinkering of the lines at practice.
“Since Rohrkemper lost (Sparks) … we evened out the lines,” Berenson said. “(He was) just filling in for Guptill.”
NOTES: Monday, Wohlberg was named CCHA Postgame Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against the Lakers. He racked up five points over the weekend and tied Guptill as the team’s goal leader in the process. … For the second time in the last three weeks, Guptill was honored as CCHA Gongshow Rookie of the Week. Before his injury, Guptill notched two points on both Friday and Saturday. … Junior forward A.J. Treais took a puck to the left arm Monday and was sidelined for the rest of practice. Berenson expects to see Treais back in action Tuesday.