DETROIT Shortly after Michigan”s 4-3 overtime thriller over Michigan State Saturday, Andy Hilbert walked to the end of the corridor separating the jubilant Michigan lockerroom from the rest of the world and smiled dazedly at a McGwire-esque throng of reporters.
A few minutes later, Josh Langfeld and John Shouneyia both emerged separately, Shouneyia with a hockey bag slung over his shoulder that caused the 5-9, 175-pounder a little sway in his step. But for a few reporters, neither encountered much interference on the way to the bus.
It”s a wonder, for if not for the heroics of two of Michigan”s lesser known guns, the Ryan Miller dam might never have leaked enough for Hilbert to burst it completely.
Langfeld found himself parked in front of Michigan State netminder just after the start of the second period. A green and white brick wall as of late, Miller came into the game with three straight shutouts and five in his last six starts.
All of which meant little to Langfeld, who brought a much-needed element of swagger to the Wolverines both before and after delicately tipping a Mark Mink pass in behind Miller to effectively end Miller”s scoring streak at 229:29.
“We knew he would crack,” Langfeld said. “Marty Turco had the streak before and he gave up goals. I was trying to get inside his head, giving him stuff about a shutout but the streak”s over with and we got the “W.””
Langfeld struggled with inconsistency in the first half of the year, but has quietly made offensive strides since the start of the season”s second half the coaching staff is quick to praise him even after games in which he”s held scoreless.
Shouneyia gave the Wolverines their first sniff of an upset with a go-ahead goal a little over halfway through the second period. In a play that typifies the diminutive center”s puck-handling prowess, he deftly batted down his own deflected shot off of Miller”s back and into the net.
“I was just trying to shoot and score,” Shouneyia said with a sheepish disposition.
An offensively-talented sophomore in his own right, Shouneyia has shot and scored at a more frequent pace this season. His ninth goal puts him at 24 points matching his season total from all of last year.
Cammalleri charm: Cammalleri is one of Michigan”s vocal leaders an ace in the hole for his teammates, one might say.
That is the case for him on the ice, too. The Wolverines have never lost this season when Cammalleri has scored a goal they are 10-0-3.
Wolverines cure “Joe” hex: For the Michigan seniors, Saturday night meant a little bit more. The 4-3 win over the Spartans was the first for the seniors against Michigan State at Joe Louis Arena. The seniors” current record against Michigan State at the Joe is 1-5-1, compared to a 3-2-1 record between East Lansing and Ann Arbor. Prior to Saturday, the last time a Michigan team had beaten Michigan State at Joe Louis Arena was the 1997 CCHA championship game.