OXFORD – The Michigan hockey team isn’t accustomed to total
meltdowns like the one it had Friday night, but it can take solace
in the fact that it knows how to respond to one.

After allowing Miami to score five goals in the first 10:22 of
the third period and convert 4-of-5 powerplays en route an 8-3
victory, the Wolverines bounced back Saturday with a 2-1 win.

Junior forward Charlie Henderson scored a goal just 2:19 into
the game, and freshman forward David Rohlfs added one less than
five minutes later.

From there, Michigan (1-1 CCHA, 2-1 overall) focused on
protecting its lead. Michigan shut out Miami (1-1, 1-3) on its nine
powerplay chances, and sophomore goaltender Al Montoya bounced back
with 33 saves.

“Montoya was the difference in the game,” Berenson said. “He
came up with the kind of goalkeeping that you need on the
road.”

Montoya, who had never before allowed six goals and was pulled
5:50 into the third period on Friday, thought the Wolverines’ focus
on killing Miami’s powerplays made a large difference.

“Right off the bat we never gave up,” Montoya said. “Even though
we kept getting penalties, we just kept going at it. We knew their
only life would be (on the powerplay). So if we shut that down, we
shut their team down.”

The Wolverines – now ranked sixth and seventh in the U.S.
College Hockey Online and USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Polls,
respectively – felt relieved to have an early lead after trailing
nearly all of Friday’s game.

Henderson did everything himself on Michigan’s first goal. With
Miami about to clear the puck out of its zone, Henderson stole the
puck and attacked down the right side. He fired a low shot that
Miami goalie Steve Hartley stopped, but the rebound came right back
to Henderson, and he fired it into the net.

“After the game last night, we all just sat there and couldn’t
believe we played so badly,” Henderson said. “We knew we had to
come out and get something started early. The first shift was
really important.”

The second goal came off another great individual effort, this
time by Rohlfs. On the powerplay, freshman defenseman Matt Hunwick
fired a pass toward the goal. With a Miami defender draped over
him, Rohlfs raced to the red line and batted the puck toward the
goalie. Hartley, who had hesitated clearing the puck, was out of
position and allowed the goal to score from a nearly impossible
angle.

As the puck trickled past Hartley, Rohlfs, who fell as he was
shooting, collided violently into the boards. He suffered a
concussion and did not play the rest of the game.

Buoyed by the early lead, Michigan held on with great
goaltending and some luck as well.

While killing a powerplay with less than three minutes left in
the first period, Montoya easily gloved a soft shot and wandered
out halfway to the blueline to clear the puck. But he fell and left
the net empty for a few seconds. Miami frantically fired a shot
wide-left of the goal, and Michigan then cleared the puck.

“I won’t do it again, but I should have had it,” Montoya
said.

Miami had another great chance in the second period when Todd
Grant received a pass from the left corner. But Montoya dove and
caught the one-timer.

Miami’s lone goal came at 7:51 in the third period when Derek
Edwardson – who scored a hat trick Friday – fired a shot from the
slot just over Montoya’s glove.

The goal set up a frantic last 10 minutes, but the Redhawks were
unable to find the net.

After the game the Wolverines were thrilled to salvage a split,
and had already put Friday’s debacle behind them.

“It was just one game,” Berenson said. “We don’t like the score,
but we’ve got to live with it. We had to bounce back and have a
good game, and we did that.”

 

 

 

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