KALAMAZOO — Amid all the excitement surrounding the Michigan hockey team’s impending trip to Joe Louis Arena for its 24th-consecutive appearance in the CCHA Tournament semifinals, the seniors had a chance to reflect on how their Michigan careers have come full circle.

This season is eerily similar to the Wolverines’ 2009-10 campaign when this year’s seniors were freshmen. Michigan went on a miracle run through the playoffs to keep its postseason hopes alive after barely breaking even on the season.

“It feels a lot similar,” said senior forward Kevin Lynch. “It feels like right now we’re on a streak and can’t lose. We know what’s at stake. We’ve got two games to finish this off, and we’re ready.”

This weekend marks Michigan’s fourth consecutive sweep and Lynch chirped at the media and fans that doubted Michigan would be standing where it is today.

“A month ago we told (everyone) we were a team to be reckoned with and that’s because guys in that locker room believed,” Lynch said. “We showed that we could play as a team, play with passion and overcome adversity any time throughout the year.”

Michigan coach Red Berenson agreed, saying guiding this struggling team has been one of the most rewarding experiences in his coaching career.

“I’m really proud,” he said. “I’ve always said you never give up on a player and you never give up on a team. I’m glad they never gave up, and I know I’m glad I never gave up.”

PERFECT PENALTY KILL: The Wolverines won every battle against Western Michigan, but perhaps no victory was as impressive as Michigan’s penalty-kill performance.

Going into the weekend, Western Michigan boasted the third-best power play in the CCHA, and prior to the weekend, Berenson expressed concern that special teams performance could harm the Wolverines.

Turns out he had nothing to worry about — the Michigan penalty kill had another flawless weekend, leading Berenson to assert that it was the best series the unit has had all season.

“The (penalty kill) was terrific,” Berenson said. “(Western Michigan) got some good looks, but nevertheless, we got through with it, whether it was our goalie, our defense blocking shots or our forwards.”

The Broncos managed to register just two shots on net during the course of their six power plays. Michigan’s penalty kill has killed off its last 25 penalties, turning it into the Wolverines’ biggest asset. And most of that has to do with the do-or-die attitude the team has adopted moving forward.

“It’s the playoffs,” said freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba on Friday. “Our season’s going to be over if we don’t win. We know that, and we know we’re playing the hardest hockey now when it counts.”

SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, EVERYBODY: Though both teams were knotted at one by the time the first period ended, the game wasn’t as even-matched as it appeared. By the time the 20-minute mark had passed, Michigan had woefully outshot Western Michigan, 15-3.

But it was still a game of inches — the Broncos had been able to capitalize on their shots when in counted, leading the Wolverines to believe that Western Michigan could counter with a strong second period, as it did with the night before.

“We knew that it was the score that counted, it wasn’t the shots,” Berenson said. “We knew we were playing well (and) we had to build on that. We came here to play Michigan hockey on the road, and that’s what we tried to do the whole game.”

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