One year ago, Michigan charged out of the CCHA playoff championships at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit with a load of confidence, another conference title in their pockets and a wave of momentum to use in an NCAA title bid.
This year, those same CCHA championship games raised doubts and offered some signs of hope for an NCAA playoff run.
After being embarassed by Western Michigan in Friday's semifinal round, the Wolverines came back to quietly play an effective game against Notre Dame to take third place in the tourney, although the game was very evenly played.
Friday night's 5-2 spanking by Western Michigan caused coach Red Berenson to question his Wolverines' sense of desperation.
“I can't tell you what went wrong,” said Berenson of the loss. “I could tell you we didn't kill penalties well. The puck went in too easily for them and we didn't generate much. So, give Western credit. They played like a desperate team and they were the better team.”
The win against Notre Dame was directly a result of a goaltending clinic put on by Shawn Hunwick.
After a fluky initial goal by Notre Dame with an assist due to a bounce of a referee's helmet, Hunwick stoned the Fighting Irish with a career high regulation-time 42 save performance in Michigan's 4-2 win.
Louie Caporusso added a goal and an assist to lead the offense in the win.