OXFORD When the Michigan hockey team was struggling to a 2-4-1 record early this season, one of the main points that coach Red Berenson stressed as essential to turning the team around was getting the offense kick-started.

Over the last six games, junior John Shouneyia has answered the call.

With a powerplay goal 19:09 into the first period on Saturday night, Shouneyia extended his point streak to six consecutive games after notching an assist on Friday night.

In those six games, Shouneyia has recorded four goals and six assists for a total of 10 points.

“John is one of our better players,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “He got off to a slower start, but I think he”s getting more confidence now, is more comfortable and he”s playing the best hockey of his career right now, and we need that.

“Obviously (center Mike) Cammalleri faces the other team”s best defensemen and the best forwards and the wings so it”s good to get a one-two punch going.”

As the center of Michigan”s second line, Shouneyia has exploded offensively since freshman Milan Gajic joined fellow freshman Jason Ryznar on his line.

That combination connected for Michigan”s first goal of the weekend with just 16 seconds remaining in the first period on Friday night.

Shouneyia won a faceoff outside the Miami zone, Gajic controlled the puck and sent it to Ryznar, who blasted a one-timer by Miami goalie David Burleigh.

Then on Saturday night, Shouneyia put Michigan ahead for good, when he lit the lamp on the powerplay with 50 seconds to go in the first period.

With Cammalleri off to play on the Canadian World Junior team for the next four weeks, Shouneyia”s streak will make him the leading candidate to fill Cammalleri”s center spot on the first line.

“Holes are going to be open,” Shouneyia said. “Guys are going to be moved up. It”s definitely an opportunity for everyone to step up and make things happen.”

Split decision: Twice during Saturday night”s 5-2 Michigan win, referee Steve Piotrowski waved off apparent goals. But fortunately for Michigan, he decided to allow one of them.

With the RedHawks trailing 2-0 in the second, Miami forward Todd Grant”s original shot was saved by goalie Josh Blackburn, but the forward then crashed into Blackburn jarring the puck loose and into the net.

Piotrowski immediately waved off the goal and instead called a two-minute goaltender interference penalty on Grant.

“It seemed to change the whole tone of the game after that, but it probably could have gone either way,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi.

Later, at a critical point in the game with Michigan ahead 2-1, Nystrom kicked a rebound of a Cammalleri shot to his stick and fired it into the net. After some discussion, that goal was allowed, and it turned out to be the game-winner.

“I couldn”t believe it,” Nystrom said. “I clearly put it in with my stick but I guess the referee”s position he was behind me he saw me kick it up to my stick and put it in. It could”ve been a turning point in the game.”

Happy Birthday Mr. Berenson: Saturday was Berenson”s 62nd birthday. Berenson is a perfect 5-0 on his birthday in the 18 years as the head coach of Michigan.

“It”s not fun when you”re on the road and you”re really thinking and worrying and preparing for a game so there”s not a lot of enjoyment during the day,” Berenson said of how he spent his birthday.

“We”ve got a bit of a break in the league and this was important, but for (my) birthday I”ll take the win anytime.”

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