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January 16, 2010

Michigan blanks Alaska Fairbanks

Michigan's hockey team came out with a sense of urgency Friday looking to continue its three-game winning streak and four game winning streak at Yost Arena. The Wolverines scored three goals in an 83-second span against Alaska Fairbanks, going up 3-0 before the first intermission in an eventual 6-0 rout.

"That's Michigan hockey," senior captain Chris Summers said. "That's my past experience over the last three years. It's always been our style to come out and jump the team early on, and I think that was the first time all season we honed in and did that. That makes a huge difference for the rest of the game."

Michigan entered the game in a tie for seventh place in the CCHA, six points behind fourth place Alaska. With this win, the Wolverines have a chance to tie Alaska and move closer to a first round bye in the playoffs.

Freshman defender Lee Moffie got the first period rally started at 17:00 with a goal from the crease. Twenty-seven seconds later, freshman forward Chris Brown redirected a slap shot from senior defenseman Steve Kampfer to give the Maize and Blue a 2-0 lead, its first of two power play goals on the night.

"Our power play has been clicking," said Moffie. "We've had a lot of power play goals in the last couple of games, and when you get a team like [Alaska] you've got to bury them, especially when they take those bad penalties."

The Nanooks entered the game as the least penalized team in the country, killing only 80 penalties this season, but sent players to the box 11 times. Michigan was able to capitalize on two power plays, with goals by Brown and freshman winger Linsdsay Sparks late in the third.
Senior forward Brian Lebler scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season, joining Brown and junior defenseman Tristin Llewellyn for mulit-point games.

The Nanooks pulled starting goalie Scott Greenham after the first period, opting for freshman goalie Steve Thompson. Thompson had never played in a college game, and the Wolverines took advantage, with freshman forward A.J. Treais scoring on the first shot-on-goal Thompson faced.

"When A.J. went hard to net, [junior forward] Ben Winnett made a great pass to him, and that goal was kind of a clinching goal," head coach Red Berenson said. "You shouldn't need a four-goal lead, but that's college hockey. You can see how quick the penalties can change a game around.

"I think the team is maturing -- I think we're coming together. The players are getting more confidence. They're getting more comfortable. And they can see with all the writing on the wall that we can play. We have to play really well."

Alaska is 4-0-1 coming off a loss this season, and with another win tomorrow night, the Wolverines would see a nice rise in the CCHA standings.

"We got to catch this team," Brown said. "That's one of our goals that we need to start winning some games. We haven't lost a game in five games at home, and that's what we're going to continue to do to catch this team in the standings and reach our goal of the CCHA tournament and the NCAA tournament. We've got to start winning."

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