ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It took Michigan a while to get on the board against Lake Superior Friday night, but once the Wolverines started scoring, they made it look easy.
Michigan (17-7-1, 12-4-1 CCHA) got two goals in the second period and three in the third to beat the Lakers, 5-1, at Yost Arena.
Forwards David Moss and Brandon Kaleniecki led the Wolverines with two goals apiece. Eric Nystrom rounded out Michigan’s goal scoring, and Andrew Ebbett added two assists. Goaltender Al Montoya made 17 saves in his 16th win of the season. Matt Violin stopped 24 shots for Lake Superior.
Despite the four-goal margin of victory, Michigan coach Red Berenson praised Lake Superior’s gritty style of play.
“I compare them to the New Jersey Devils,” Berenson said. “They play a good system, they’re well coached, they’re disciplined, they’re looking for turnovers and they don’t give you much. You really have to earn what you get.”
But the Lakers (6-12-5, 4-10-3 CCHA) couldn’t keep up with the Wolverines’ offense.
Kaleniecki was the first to net two goals for Michigan. He fired a quick shot after T.J. Hensick pulled the puck back to him off a faceoff win, and the wrister beat Violin cleanly. The goal, which came at 9:38 of the second period, gave Michigan a 1-0 lead. In the third, Kaleniecki got the puck in the crease with an open net in front of him and banged it in. The sophomore leads the Wolverines with 12 goals.
Moss, who had just three goals coming into the game, started his scoring binge on a give-and-go with Ebbett during the middle period. Moss got Violin moving to one side and flipped the puck in the other side. He also netted Michigan’s fifth goal of the game.
“You watch David Moss, and you see he has a jump in his stride,” Berenson said of the junior who switched from center to winger this season. “He’s a different player than he was (earlier in the year). He’s starting to play his best hockey.”
That may be true, but Moss still hasn’t scored a hat trick. That’s why, when Kaleniecki had a good look at the net — and a chance to get his third goal of game — at the end of the third period, Moss decided he wanted to be the one to take the shot.
“I heard him calling for (the puck),” Kaleniecki said. “I was coming down, I was about to shoot it, but I don’t know.”
Moss justified his decision with a smile.
“Kal has enough hat tricks; I don’t have any here yet,” he said. Kaleniecki scored his only career hat trick against Quinnipiac earlier this season.
Lake Superior, which sits at the bottom of the CCHA standings, hung with Michigan for a period-and-a-half and limited the Wolverines’ chances. But once Michigan’s offense ignited, it overpowered the Lakers.
Lake Superior had a great chance to pull within one late in the second period, when Steve McJannet skated around a defender and put the puck behind Montoya. It landed in the crease and slid along the goalline, but Montoya got to it before McJannet could follow up his shot.
The Lakers entered the third period trailing 2-0 and couldn’t find the net until 11:52. Jeffrey Rainville beat Montoya, but by that time, it was a moot point. Michigan already led 5-1.
“We had our chances,” Lake Superior junior Bo Cheesman said. “We came out with a stern plan, and we executed it. (But) I think we had some breakdowns. They obviously gained momentum. But we have to be strong enough as a team to overcome that.”
The Lakers will have another shot at the Wolverines Saturday night.