OXFORD — In reality, the shootout didn’t really matter. The weekend was going to be a disappointment even if Miami (Ohio)’s Byron Paulazzo didn’t turn his shootout attempt into a spinning whirlwind of a shot that sealed the loss for the Michigan hockey team.

Getting the two-point shootout win wouldn’t have changed much because even that extra point couldn’t have saved the weekend for the Wolverines.

No. 5 Michigan (3-3-2 CCHA, 7-3-2 overall) traveled to Oxford and played its worst series of the year, dropping both games to a Miami team that hadn’t won a CCHA game until last week. The most concerning thing for the Wolverines wasn’t the losses, but rather not knowing what caused them.

“I don’t know (what we are missing),” said junior forward A.J. Treais. “We just need to find it. We are struggling right now.”

That search for “it” wasn’t much of a question on Friday night because the Wolverines continued their season-long, Friday-night struggles.

The RedHawks (3-4-1, 5-6-1) scored less than two minutes into the first period, putting Michigan in a hole it could not climb out of. The Wolverines were dominated physically from the moment the puck dropped.

“I don’t know if it was a lack of focus today or what, but we didn’t come out like we needed to,” said senior forward Luke Glendening. “We struggled because of it.”

All weekend the Wolverines had serious troubles hanging onto the puck in Miami’s zone, which led to a lot of turnovers and missed opportunities. They were able to erase a two-goal deficit in the final period when Glendening dug a puck out of the corner and finished on a great feed from junior defenseman Lee Moffie to give his team a fighting chance with 13 minutes left.

But Michigan couldn’t get a second goal. The team finally showed signs of life late, but that slow start was too much to overcome.

The answers after Saturday were a lot harder to come by. This time it wasn’t a slow start, as junior forward Chris Brown gave Michigan an early 1-0 lead.

It also wasn’t a lack of hustle. The first tally was set up by a great effort play from Treais, who disrupted the setup of a RedHawk play deep in their zone to give Brown a great look at the net.

It also wasn’t for a lack of bounces. Michigan tied the game with four minutes left on a spectacular goal from freshman forward Zach Hyman. Hyman took a pass behind Miami’s net and sent off an odd looking shot/pass to the crease. The puck then bounced off the skate of Miami goaltender Cody Reichard and just barely made it in the net.

The RedHawks also had two goals called back on Saturday, and a shot in the first overtime period missed ending the game by a couple inches.

“These teams in the CCHA are really good teams,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “We are no better than anyone we play. We have proven that.”

But opinions as to Michigan’s struggles differ throughout the locker room. Senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick cited the team’s lack of experience and also questioned the Wolverines’ mentality.

“Maybe you go through the week, you might think, ‘Hey we’re Michigan, we’re just going to come out and play, and it’s going to be easy’, but it’s not,’ ” Hunwick said. “It’s a lesson we’re learning real soon. You can say whatever you want, guys can talk in the locker room, but unless you go out and do it, it’s all talk.”

Whatever the true issue is, after a disappointing weekend, Michigan returns home with many more questions than answers.

“One point out of six on the road is not acceptable,” Berenson said. “No way, no matter how you twist it.”

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