Karl Henkel/At the CCHA Tournament
Detroit –- One win down, one win to go.
That’s what’s left for Michigan after it crushed CCHA regular-season champion Miami, 5-2, in a CCHA semifinal at Joe Louis Arena Friday night.
“This was a game that we had to have,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “They’re in the tournament and we’re trying to win our way in the tournament.”
Michigan, which has to win the CCHA Tournament to receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, has one big hurdle Saturday evening against Northern Michigan, which beat Ferris State 5-4 in overtime earlier in the day.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the RedHawks thanks to goals from Tristin Llewellyn and Lee Moffie before they scored three third-period goals to chase Player of the Year Cody Reichard, who departed after allowing all five goals on 24 shots. Backup Connor Knapp made his first appearance in relief and stopped all four shots fired his direction.
Getting the lead on them and then getting the second goal was huge,” Berenson said.
Then in the third period, Michigan netted three consecutive goals in the first seven-plus minutes. Two came off the stick of Kevin Lynch and he third was courtesy of Brian Lebler.
“If we had to play the whole game with a one-goal lead that’s fine,” Berenson said. “We go out to win the period. It turns out we got the first goal … then we got another one.”
Though Miami hung around through two periods, it never really got comfortable enough.
“They’re playing real well right now,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said of Michigan. “They deserved to win. They’re clicking on all cylinders.”
One Wolverine that’s been clicking for games now is goaltender Shawn Hunwick, who stopped 20 shots.
“Early in the second period is probably the smoothest and most confident I’ve felt since I’ve been in,” Hunwick said.
Hunwick has now started seven consecutive games and has posted a 6-1 record.
The specialty teams were a wash, as both squads went 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
Michigan will play Northern Michigan Saturday at 7:35 p.m. for the CCHA title. Ferris State meets Miami in the third-place game beginning at 3:35 p.m.