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Playing in just his third game of the season, Michigan senior John Shouneyia skated like he’s been in the lineup all year.
Shouneyia, who has missed most of the season with a wrist injury, scored his first two goals and added an assist as the No. 5 Wolverines downed Lake Superior State 4-1 Friday at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.
“The good thing about John’s injury was that he was still able to skate and stay focused,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “Now, he’s playing the way we expected him to play.”
Shouneyia’s first goal came just 28 seconds into the second period, extending Michigan’s lead to 2-0. Shouneyia caught a deflection off an Andy Burnes shot inside the faceoff circle, blasting a one-timer past Lakers goalie Matt Violin.
“Both teams were trying to come out and play better in the second period,” Berenson said. “The timing of that goal was huge.”
Shouneyia extended the lead to 3-0 with 12:35 remaining in the second on a Wolverines power play. Lake Superior’s Ren Fauci was sent to the box for a two-minute obstruction penalty, and Shouneyia made the Lakers pay.
Following a barrage of Michigan shots, he knocked in a rebound off a Jeff Tambellini miss.
The Wolverines, who converted two of four power-play opportunities, have now outscored their opponents 18-3 in the second period this season.
“It felt nice to finally score a goal, especially in a winning effort at home,” said Shouneyia, who led the Wolverines (7-1-1, 4-0-1 CCHA) with 50 points last season. “But to be honest, both goals were pretty lucky.”
Lake Superior (3-8-0, 0-7-0) cut the deficit to 3-1 with 18:47 left in the third period on a Jon Booras shorthanded goal. Booras capitalized on a Michigan turnover, breaking away from the Wolverine defense and beating goalie Al Montoya high from just inside the circle.
“They played a tough and physical game and I don’t think we were ready for it,” Burnes said. “They had a game plan and stuck to it. We were fortunate to come away with a win.”
Milan Gajic gave Michigan all the insurance it would need when he deflected a Burnes shot past Violin with 12:50 left.
Despite outshooting the Lakers 15-7 in the first period, the Wolverines could muster only one goal. Violin came out of the net to play what appeared to be a Tambellini shot, but instead Tambellini found Eric Nystrom in front of an empty net with 9:58 remaining.
Lake Superior outshot Michigan 21-14 in the final two periods, but Montoya was just too much for the Lakers. Coming into the game with a 2.02 goals against average, Montoya finished with 27 saves.
Michigan and Lake Superior finish off their series Saturday in Ann Arbor.
Michigan extended its home-unbeaten streak to nine straight games dating back to last year. The Wolverines are riding a 14-game CCHA unbeaten steak (13-0-1).
Their last loss in CCHA play was a 4-2 defeat to Bowling Green on Jan. 25, 2002, in Ann Arbor. Michigan will be without senior captain Jed Ortmeyer for four to six weeks. He suffered a knee injury last Friday against Bowling Green.