The perfect scenario for Michigan's 2010-2011 opener was set in place.
The Wolverines had methodically built a four-goal lead over the first half of the game at Yost Ice Arena against Mercyhurst on goals from Louie Caporusso, Scooter Vaughan, Greg Pateryn and a short-handed effort from Matt Rust.
Head coach Red Berenson was about to record his 700th career coaching victory.
Netminder Shawn Hunwick had blanked Mercyhurst, continuing his run of goaltending success stretching back to the Wolverines successful playoff effort from 2009-2010.
Mercyhurst managed to score their first goal late in the second period to inch a little closer, but the outcome didn't seem to be in doubt as the middle stanza came to a close.
Methodically, though, Mercyhurst added three more third period goals, increasing their momentum with each tally to tie the opener for both teams, 4-4. Five minutes of overtime couldn't decide a winner.
The two teams played an exhibition shootout which Mercyhurst won with their fifth shooter, but each team will be officially credited with tie.
“You shouldn't lose or tie a game when you have a 4-1 lead in the third period at home,” said Berenson of the disappointing result. “We couldn't bury it and then once they got a goal, they got some life and they took advantage. They were very opportunistic and it cost us the win.”
“Especially early on in the season, I think we got too content with where we were,” said senior alternate captain Rust. “The sign of a good team is not to let the waterfall effect happen.”
Michigan did allow the comeback, though, and the squad will have a full week of practice to think about just that and prepare to try to win number 700 for Berenson at a two-game series they have scheduled against Bowling Green next Friday and Saturday.