Plenty of people witnessed Shawn Hunwick’s day to remember.
The Michigan goaltender received a last-second call to duty following Bryan Hogan’s pregame groin pull, and stopped all 34 shots he faced in a 5-0 Michigan win over rival Michigan State in ”The Big Chill at the Big House.”
“I told both of them on Thursday that Hogan was playing , and we made the call that Hogan was going to be our starting goalie,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “I told everyone. During the warm-ups today, Hogan pulled his groin. Hunwick knew then that he had to go in; obviously he was ready.”
A record crowd of 113,411 was on hand to witness the game. It was the largest crowd that has ever attended an NCAA sporting event.
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it’s something that I’ll never forget,” said Michigan State forward Trevor Nill.
Michigan started strong, scoring twice in a span of 2:50 mid-way through the first period on a pair of goals by freshman defenseman Jon Merrill.
The first goal came on the power play on a shot from the top of the right circle. His second came on a rush, connecting on a one-time pass from Matt Rust.
“Merrill’s been big all year, he’s been as consistent of a player as we’ve had,” Berenson said.
Michigan State appeared to cut the lead in half with nine minutes to go in the second period, but officials ruled that the net had been knocked off before the puck crossed the goal line.
Video replay upheld the call on the ice.
“If that goal stands, then I think we would’ve had a little bit of momentum going,” said Michigan State captain Torey Krug. “We worked hard out there.”
The Spartans appeared deflated after the nulled goal, and Michigan capitalized a shot time later, with Carl Hagelin picking up a power play marker with his eighth goal of the season. He fired home a rebound off of Rust’s shot and put the puck between Michigan State goalie Drew Palmisano’s glove and left pad.
Michigan added two goals in the third, with Hagelin adding another power play goal, and David Wohlberg scoring his eighth goal of the season.
Hagelin’s goal was once again off of a rebound on a shot by Rust–who had three assists in the game. Wohlberg scored baseball-style, when a pass from Brandon Burlon deflected into the air and he batted it past Palmisano.
That goal was upheld by video review.
“We were able to get three goals on the power play today; it was a great relief for us,” said Hagelin. “Lately, we haven’t been getting shots through. Tonight we had a one-timer and two off of rebounds. You aren’t going to always have pretty goals, but it counts just the same as the good ones.”
Despite the lopsided score, the players and coaches were happy to have been apart of the record-breaking game.
“The whole thing was great, of you can separate losing, you can’t as a person involved in hockey experience anything better than what you experienced tonight,” said Michigan State coach Rick Comley.
“It’s definitely one to remember, this was one of the most exciting days of my life,” said Michigan forward Louie Caporusso.
In addition to the atmosphere of the game, the Wolverines players had high praise for their goalie’s strong fill-in effort in the game.
“He can’t have a better game, he got the shutout for us and made the stops he needed to,” Hagelin said. ”It was pretty incredible.”