John U. Bacon's latest in Michigan Today is the story of the hockey team's late season surge and Shawn Hunwick's key role.
The story's narrative isn't new to us, but some of the personal recollections by Hunwick give some nice insights into how hard it must have been to muster the confidence required for the former practice goalie to lead his team to the CCHA tournament championship and the NCAA regionals.
Besides, it's Bacon, so it's a must read.
Because of their seventh-place finish, the Wolverines not only had to run the table, they had to do it the hard way. They would have to play the first round of the league playoffs, instead of enjoying their usual bye, for the first time in two decades; and if they won, they would have to travel to their opponents' rink for the next second, instead of playing at home. To say the outlook was bleak would be to understate the case considerably.
They all felt the weight, but none more so than their substitute goalie. "I had a decision to make," Hunwick recalls of the long bus ride back to Ann Arbor. "I could keep my confidence up, or I could pack it in."
Wolverine players swarm goalie Shawn Hunwick after U-M won the CCHA hockey tournament to keep alive its streak of 20 consecutive NCAA playoff appearances. (Photo: Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services.)