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October 25, 2013Michigan shot and shot and shot, 34 times to be exact almost eight minutes into the third period but still the Wolverines trailed 1-0. Then, on their 35th shot, via their fifth power play of the game, the Maize and Blue hit the back of the net.
Junior Alex Guptill would score on a penalty shot moments later and U-M would earn a 2-1 win over Boston University Friday night at Yost Ice Arena.
"We were playing hard. We got pucks deep. We got a lot of shots on the net, and let's face it, their goalie had a great game but our team stayed with it," head coach Red Berenson said.
"Who would have thought a penalty shot would be the deciding goal in the game. Just to tie the game gave our team a little more life. They knew they were playing well but they needed to get the result because time was ticking. We played well in the first period even though we were playing from behind. We were behind even after the second but I liked the way our team stayed with it."
Michigan thoroughly dominated BU in the first, outshooting the Terriers 14-6 thanks to a 3-1 power-play advantage. However, Boston U. registered the period's only goal when Robbie Baillargeon unleashed a wicked wrist shot over freshman goalie Zach Nagelvoort's left shoulder at 18:25.
Nagelvoort, however, was one of the chief reasons Michigan won, making 18 saves in his first career start at Yost (in replacing an injured Steve Racine).
"Our goalie play is night and day from last year," Guptill said. "To be able to bring in a backup like that, he's been standing on his head. He's given us confidence. Our shoulders aren't slumping when a goal goes in. And it shows tonight when we can come back from a 1-0 deficit in the third period."
Michigan put 16 shots on the board in the second period, and should have tied it but sophomore center Boo Nieves' rebound attempt sailed wide of the net early in the frame.
Senior forward Luke Moffatt appeared to net his team-leading fourth goal of the season early in the third but the marker was waived off after the referees ruled Moffatt had pushed the puck across the goal line with his hand. That no-no could have derailed the Wolverines but instead they forged out even hungrier.
"I told our team, whether it's a goal or not, we have to play another 11 minutes and let's just stay with it, we're playing well," Berenson said.
When the Terriers got sent to the box at 5:46 of the third, Yost electrified with anticipation and freshman winger Tyler Motte buried a perfect cross-ice pass from senior defenseman Mac Bennet for the game-tying tally at 7:16.
"The thing is Mac looked everyone off. He showed a little deception, looked over here but he saw Motte, and it was a nice pass, a perfect pass right on the tape for Tyler, and he made no mistake," said Berenson, describing his senior captain before lauding the rookie.
"He's in the right place at the right time. Most of his goals have been tap-in goals or rebound goals but tonight that was a nice shot from a bad angle. We needed someone to get the puck past this big goalie and finally he did."
Only 90 seconds later, Guptill burst through the middle of the defense for a breakaway but was hooked before getting a shot off, setting up the penalty shot. He went five-hole to beat 6-6 netminder Matt O'Connor.
"I'll be honest, my heart was racing pretty good," Guptill said. "I thought about going backhand but I saw how big he was and I played against him back in the day in the Ontario League so I went five-hole, made a quick move with the forehand as I was coming in and got rid of it."
With the win, this young Michigan team - four freshman forwards dressed, three defensemen and Nagelvoort in net - that wasn't supposed to be a major player in the Big Ten or nationally this season is 4-0-1 with wins over three of Hockey East's premier programs, Boston College, New Hampshire and Boston U.
U-M hosts a fourth Hockey East foe, 2013 Frozen Four participant UMass Lowell, Saturday night at 7:00 pm. The game can be seen on Comcast Local.