The No. 6 Michigan hockey team’s bench was a little more crowded than usual Saturday night. Senior goaltender Bryan Hogan was in uniform for the first time since his groin injury on Dec. 11. While Hogan joined freshman Adam Janecyk in standing behind the bench, it was still senior Shawn Hunwick who was between the pipes.
He didn’t disappoint. Hunwick made 28 stops in the Wolverines’ 2-1 loss to Michigan State, including 22 on the Spartans’ first 22 shots. The game was scoreless late into the second period and as each minute ticked by, Hunwick matched his counterpart, Michigan State’s Will Yanakeff. Each gave up goals in the final minute, setting the stage for the third period.
After a Michigan State goal, Michigan turned the puck over. A backhand pass came out from the boards and Hunwick found himself alone with Spartan Kevin Walrod. Hunwick made the pad save, setting up the rush that led to a penalty shot on the other end.
“I think the chances they had on Hunwick might have been tougher than the chances we had at the other end,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “Hunwick gave us a chance. That’s all you can ask.”
Despite the loss dropping his record to 10-5-4, Hunwick also dropped his goals against average to 2.33, though he still ranks 27th in the country.
NO MORE STREAKING: It’s been a long time since sullen faces emerged from the Michigan dressing room.
The sixth-ranked Wolverines, a team Michigan State coach Rick Comley called the “best team in the country, top to bottom,” snapped a number streaks with their loss.
Their five game winning streak is gone. Senior forward Carl Hagelin’s nine-game point streak is over. Michigan’s undefeated streak on Saturday night, which lasted the whole season, is over at 13 games.
“We want to be a CCHA playoff team, CCHA regular season championship team, we’re going to have to beat these teams,” senior winger Scooter Vaughan said. “This is a really big weekend (at Miami). We’re not going in there expecting anything less than six points.”
The loss that snapped the streak also dropped Michigan out of first place. Notre Dame’s shootout win vaulted them over Michigan by one point. But the Wolverines have two games in hand on both the Fighting Irish and third-place Miami (Ohio).
Michigan heads to Oxford next weekend to play the RedHawks while Notre Dame has the weekend off.
NOTES: The loss evens Michigan’s season series with the Spartans at two … Saturday’s game was likely the last Comely will have against the Wolverines. He announced his retirement at the end of the season this week and won’t play Michigan again unless it’s in the CCHA playoffs … Kevin Lynch’s penalty shot in the third period was the first since now-senior defenseman Chad Langlais had one last season — 66 games ago.