The puck lying in the net behind Michigan fifth-year senior goalie Shawn Hunwick was a wake-up call.

Bentley looked like it had just done the improbable on Saturday: a team ranked 10th out of 12 in the Atlantic Hockey Association preseason poll apparently took a one-goal lead late in the second period against the No. 6 Michigan hockey team.

Ultimately, a wake-up call was all that it was.

After a few brief seconds of celebration, the referees waved off the goal due to a goaltender interference penalty on Bentley forward Joe Campanelli.

The scare, though, was real.

The Falcons hung close with the Wolverines for both games of the weekend series, even though the score was lopsided in the two Michigan victories. Bentley trailed by just one goal entering the final frame in both contests, but the constant Michigan onslaught — the Wolverines dominated shots 93-41 on the weekend — eventually broke down the Falcons in each game.

“We’ve been conditioning pretty hard all spring and summer,” said sophomore forward Luke Moffatt. “I think right now (it’s) just the fatigue factor. We’re able to wear down the other team and by the third period, they just can’t keep up with us.”

Conditioning from three games prior to the weekend series also earned Michigan (3-0) an upper-hand in the third period. Bentley (0-2) hadn’t played a single game before this weekend’s series.

Third-period performance decided each contest. The Wolverines outscored Bentley a combined 5-0 in the final frame on the weekend, led by junior forward A.J. Treais and freshman forward Alex Guptill, who each scored two goals apiece in the third.

Still, it took the near-Bentley goal to light a spark under the Michigan offense. Freshman forward Phil Di Giuseppe tapped in the go-ahead goal just 34 seconds after the penalty thanks to a feed to the crease by Moffatt.

“That was a pretty big momentum switch,” Moffatt said. “We were able to get that power play goal and boost up the whole bench, and it gave us a lot of momentum after that.”

Conditioning hasn’t been the sole contributor to the boost in third-period play. Michigan coach Red Berenson replaced Guptill on the first line with freshman forward Travis Lynch for the third period on Friday. Senior forward David Wohlberg had been playing center with Guptill and senior forward Luke Glendening on the wings, and Berenson believed they could generate more offense with Wohlberg there too.

The move paid off. Glendening scored the Wolverines’ second goal of the third period on Friday, and Lynch and Wohlberg recorded assists. All three of Michigan’s third-period goals in that game came in a three-minute span, transforming a one-goal game with five minutes remaining into a blowout.

Scoring has been contagious for Michigan this season: it scored three goals in five minutes against Niagara, and just 80 seconds separated goals by Guptill and Treais on Saturday, although Guptill’s was an empty-netter.

“College hockey is all about momentum,” Berenson said. “That’s the great thing about Yost Ice Arena and playing at Michigan. If we can get something going and the crowd gets into it and the players just get into it, there just seems to be another level. And it can intimidate an opponent and the game changes.”

The momentum on Saturday came from Bentley’s mistake rather than anything that the Wolverines did. Hunwick likely would have made a routine save if Campanelli hadn’t impeded his path to the puck, but the momentum swing proved decisive.

And Michigan capitalized when it mattered.

“That was big,” Berenson said. “We were lucky that it didn’t count, because we would have been climbing an uphill battle. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t have come back, but you’d rather play with a lead.”

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