After 40 minutes of Saturday night”s game at Joe Louis Arena against No. 1 Michigan State, the Michigan hockey team was struck with conflicting emotions.

Paul Wong
Josh Blackburn gave up two soft goals in the second period, but had the last laugh as the Wolverines came back against Michigan State to win 4-3 in overtime.<br><br>JEFF HURVITZ/Daily

The Wolverines rebounded from a sluggish opening stanza which ended with Michigan State leading 1-0 with a strong second period. A goal by John Shouneyia gave Michigan a 2-1 lead at the 5:39 mark of the second, but a pair of relatively soft goals by Troy Ferguson and Jon Insana the latter coming from just inside the blue line put Michigan State back on top, 3-2 when the period drew to a close.

Consequently, Michigan entered the lockerroom for the second intermission with mixed feelings. On one hand, the Wolverines were upset that they were once again trailing the hated Spartans.

But at the same time, Michigan could take some solace in the fact that it had seized control of the flow of play in the latter stages of the second period.

“Towards the end of the second period, it was our period we outplayed them,” Michigan forward Craig Murray said. “We knew that they had just gotten a couple of lucky chances and the bounces went in.”

The fact that the Wolverines dictated the play for most of the second period made the 3-2 deficit a little easier to swallow.

And yet, Michigan was faced with the prospect of having to put at least one more puck past Miller, who had not given up three goals in a game since Dec. 1.

“All of hockey is confidence,” Swistak said. “If you don”t have confidence that you can come back and score, you”re really putting yourself in a hole. But this team knew it had to have it.”

As confident as Michigan might have been in the lockerroom, it couldn”t possibly have predicted what would happen at the start of the third.

A mere 14 seconds into the final frame, Andy Hilbert streaked down the right wing and flipped a centering pass to Mike Cammalleri, who was standing all alone in the slot. Cammalleri didn”t waste his opportunity, one-timing the puck over a startled Miller”s right shoulder to even the score at three.

Before many fans had a chance to return from the concession stand, the Wolverines had tied the contest. The shellshocked Spartans never seemed to recover they took only six shots during the final period and failed to get off a single shot in overtime before Hilbert slid a puck between Miller”s pads to end the game.

“It was four-on-four hockey, and you know they”re coming out to play that kiddie-bar-the-door-defend-the-lead,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said of Cammalleri”s goal. “Well, a minute into the period, they didn”t have the lead anymore. It was a huge goal.”

And the winners are: Sophomore forward Andy Hilbert was named CCHA Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in wins over Notre Dame and Michigan State.

Hilbert had a playmaker in the 9-0 win over the Fighting Irish and scored the game-winning goal in the overtime thriller against Michigan State on Saturday night.

In addition, freshman defenseman Andy Burnes was selected CCHA Rookie of the Week, and Michigan was chosen as the “Team of the Week” by USAToday.com.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *