ST. PAUL, Minn. - Prior to the Wolverines NCAA Semifinal contest against No. 1-ranked North Dakota, Michigan Head Coach Red Berenson said Michigan needed to play its' best game of the year to advance to the NCAA Championship.
Goalie Shawn Hunwick delivered.
Against the Fighting Sioux in Thursday night's NCAA semifinal contest, the former U-M walk on goalie turned aside 40 shots as Michigan downed the heavily-favored Fighting Sioux 2-0 to advance to Saturday night's NCAA Championship Game.
Ben Winnett scored his fourth goal of the season 13:26 into the first period to get Michigan on the board, then Scooter Vaughan added an empty net goal in the final moments to seal the victory.
"Well, if we could have planned a road game like this, this is how you'd plan it. Just go to the first goal. It was huge against this team," said Red Berenson.
"We knew we had to overachieve to find a way to win this game. And I think that's what you saw tonight. And yet our goalie had to be our best player."
In the game's opening minutes the tournament's No. 1-seed peppered the Michigan goalie with chances. It wasn't until Winnett tucked home defenseman Jon Merrill's shot that rang off the post, though, that either team found the scoreboard and Michigan went on top of the Fighting Sioux 1-0.
"Jon Merrill did a great job of keeping the puck in at the point," Winnett said following the goal, "and was able to find the seam as he usually does. I think it hit the post and bounced up to me, and Luke Glendening drove the net hard and basically took two guys out of the play and was able to kick it to me, and I just had a wide-open net and was able to put it in."
In the second period the Fighting Sioux threatened to tie the score out-shooting the Wolverines 11-3 in the middle stanza. Hunwick stood tall, though, and the Wolverines maintained the slim lead until the late empty-netter.
"I think it was a lot of straight-on shots," Hunwick said. "A lot of shots in the front of the net that I was able to see."
In the third period the make-shift home team continued to press on for the tying goal. Matt Frattin, the nation's leading goal scorer, fired a handful of shots at Michigan's goalie late in the contest, including a shot in the slot that Hunwick tipped off the goal post, but the Sioux were unable to solve Hunwick.
Senior's Carl Hagelin, Louie Caporusso and Scooter Vaughan then combined to tack on an empty net goal to ice the contest.
With the win the Wolverines advance to Saturday night's NCAA National Championship Game against the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Minnesota-Duluth advanced by downing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-3 earlier Thursday afternoon. Face-off if scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
U-M Advances to National Championship
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