If you want to know what kind of a hockey player Matt Hunwick is
when he steps on the ice, you don’t need to look any further
than how he carries himself in his dorm room.

Julie Pannuto
Matt Hunwick has held his own, despite being an underclassman. (FILE PHOTO)

David Rohlfs, Hunwick’s roommate and teammate, describes
the Roseville native in a way that likens him to Felix from
“The Odd Couple.”

“He’s definitely neat,” Rohlfs said.
“(When) you come in our dorm room, you can definitely tell
which side of the room is his and which side is mine. He keeps it
clean.”

Hunwick is also a clean player on the ice. The freshman, who was
paired with senior captain Andy Burnes at the beginning of the
season, does not make many blunders that allow opposing forwards to
find the back of the Michigan net. For this reason, he is also used
on the penalty kill, when defenders pay for their mistakes
dearly.

“Hunwick came (to Michigan) as the top freshman defenseman
(in his recruiting class),” Berenson said. “He’s
playing against the top forwards in the league … and this
kid is a freshman defenseman.”

The fact that Berenson decided to throw the freshman into the
fire from day one showed the coach’s confidence in his young
defenseman. He has not had the time to develop physically and also
faces players who know the college game better than he does. In
spite of these disadvantages, he says that it’s something
that “fires him up.”

“It’s something to look forward to, something to
take pride in — shutting the other team’s top lines
down,” Hunwick said. “It’s a good feeling when
you come away with the weekend and guys are only getting one or two
points when they’re used to getting twice that.”

So far this season, Hunwick has consistently excelled. His
plus-minus ratio, a solid indicator of how a defenseman is faring
on the ice, is at plus 12, which ties him for best on the team with
junior forward Andrew Ebbett.

The one thing that Hunwick has not done a lot of is score goals.
In fact, he lit the lamp for the first time in his budding career
during Saturday night’s 8-5 victory over then CCHA-leading
Miami. With 6:18 remaining in the second period, Hunwick, got a
great feed from freshman winger T.J. Hensick in front of the net.
He then wristed a shot into the right side of the goal.

Hunwick noted that the elusive first goal was great to have,
noting that it “was a long time coming.”

Berenson said that while he was happy for Hunwick, he also feels
that the freshman has a ways to go before he reaches greatness.

Said Berenson: “Is he a better player now than he was at
the start (of the season)? Absolutely. But is he playing
mistake-free hockey? No. Can he improve defensively?
Yes.”

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