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College Hockey:
Power Play Surge Leads Michigan Over Miami, 6-2

Vancik Nets Game-Winner for Wolverines

— Michigan’s power play tallied three goals, including Jay Vancik’s game-winner, as the Wolverines completed a sweep of Miami with a 6-2 victory Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena.

“It was an exhausting game, both physically and mentally,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “The emotion caught up with the teams.”

The RedHawks (1-4-1 overall, 0-2-0 CCHA) lost in Ann Arbor for the 13th-straight time, failing to break an eight-game road losing streak.

But for the second straight night, Miami kept the game close. After giving up two power-play goals, the RedHawks stormed back to tie the game at 2-2 early in the third period.

“Again, I thought five-on-five we played well,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “I thought we got better as a team this weekend. But when you allow penalties to be a factor, it can go either way.”

It went only Michigan’s way all weekend. The Wolverines (6-0-2, 4-0-0) scored on 40 percent of their power plays (six of 15), while three out of four Miami goals came on even strength.

“That’s a good stat on paper. I don’t know if it really was, we’ll see,” Berenson said. “But they were timely goals.”

Michigan didn’t escape the weekend without an injury. The Wolverines lost goaltender Josh Blackburn (15 saves) for the third stanza, after Michigan’s Jeff Jillson and Miami’s Pat Leahy smashed into the netminder, hitting the crossbar.

Referee Don Cline sent Leahy to the penalty box for charging, much to the chagrin of Berenson, who thought it was far worse.

“If you think it’s deliberate, then you’ve got to take him out of the game,” Berenson said of Leahy’s charge. “That net doesn’t move quickly.”

Senior L.J. Scarpace, who has yet to play this season, replaced Blackburn and started shaky at first, allowing the backhander by Miami’s Mike Kompon that tied the game at 2.

“It was kind of sudden, ” Scarpace said. “We figured [Josh] would bounce back up like he usually does.”

Berenson said Blackburn has a shoulder problem, and the team should find out early this week if the junior will be available for next Saturday’s matchup with Michigan State.

Even without Blackburn, Scarpace made seven of eight saves, while the Michigan defense tightened. The offense took things from there, as Vancik’s game-winner, followed by Andy Hilbert’s fourth goal of the season, put Michigan ahead 4-2.

Jed Ortemeyer and Mike Komisarek added empty-net tallies late in the third to blow up the scorecard.

“It was a lot closer than a 6-2 game,” Berenson said. “We found a way to win the game; that’s good. But we don’t want to get blindsided by the fact that we’re winning. Our team is still learning. We’re a long way from our best.”

Hilbert and senior Josh Langfeld each had a goal and two assists, and lead the Wolverines in points with 16 and 14 respectively.

Prior to the game, Michigan raised its 2000 CCHA Championship banner. The Wolverines have won five of the last eight CCHA regular-season crowns.

The physical play even spread to the fans. A Miami parent and a Michigan student each were ejected after a near-scuffle broke out in the Yost stands. The action in the seats took away from the action on the ice, as both benches looked back to gawk.

“I thought that was unnecessary,” Blasi said.

Mark Francescutti is a sports editor for the Michigan Daily.

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