By Bob Miller/Michigan Beat Writer
Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick fully played up to the performance level he'd demonstrated in the past two years of post-season play and led the Wolverines to a two-game sweep of their quarterfinal CCHA playoff series against Notre Dame.
The series win earned the Wolverines a spot in this weekend's CCHA championship semifinals at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
As much as the Wolverines were surprised at having to play such a talented Notre Dame team in the quarterfinals, Michigan has to be even more surprised to be matched against No. 11 playoff seed Bowling Green in their semifinal tilt on Friday.
Bowling Green traveled to Northern Michigan in the opening round and disposed of the Wildcats in a deciding third game, then performed the same trick against No. 1 seed Ferris State this past weekend to secure their spot in the semifinals versus the Wolverines.
In the opener with the Irish, Michigan forward Chris Brown sent the Wolverine faithful home both happy and tired when he scored the game-winner three minutes into the second overtime period with a snap shot from the circle to Notre Dame netminder Steve Summerhays' left for a 2-1 Michigan win.
The Wolverines managed to build a 3-0 lead on a pair of goals by David Wohlberg and a single by Phil Di Giuseppe in the Saturday rematch against Notre Dame and then held on to win 3-1 to clinch the series.
Hunwick's solid play in both games was the crucial component for the Wolverines.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson of his team's advancement to the CCHA semifinals. “It wasn’t easy. Last night’s game was a game either team could have won and I thought Hunwick was the difference in that game.”
I thought we were okay in the first period,” offered Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson. “We got some life later in the game. I thought that Riley Sheahan and his line gave us a little energy as the game progressed. It's just that Hunwick's too good and we've had a tough time finishing over the last couple months.”
If Michigan can manage to end Bowling Green's Cinderella run in Friday's semifinal game, the Wolverines would take on the winner of the Western Michigan-Miami semifinal contest in Saturday night's tourney finals at the Joe.
Hunwick photo (GLI 2010) by Matt Mackinder/MiCHO