ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Both Michigan and Lake Superior State extended streaks to six games Saturday night, although they’re heading in opposite directions. With a 4-0 victory, the Wolverines have now won six straight in the CCHA, while Lake Superior has lost six in a row, four of them against CCHA teams.
Michigan (18-7-1 overall, 13-4-1 CCHA) got goals from four different players, including Brandon Kaleniecki, who scored his third of the weekend. Goaltender Al Montoya earned his fifth shutout of the season.
“We’re playing our best hockey of the season, I think,” Michigan sophomore Andrew Ebbett said. “Guys are coming to the rink (and) having fun. We’re also bringing a lot more intensity, it seems lately. It shows in practice, and I think it’s showing on the weekends.”
A frustrated Kory Scoran said the Lakers (6-13-5, 4-11-3) have been repeating the same mistakes during their skid.
“We shoot ourselves in the foot every game,” the sophomore defenseman said. “We let up for six minutes. It happens every weekend — we just let up … Once a game, we get buried, and we can’t come back.”
The last-place Lakers were overmatched against the Wolverines, who sit in second place in the CCHA with 27 points. Michigan blistered the Lake Superior goaltenders with 49 shots, while the Lakers managed just 13. Michigan grabbed a one-goal lead in the first period, and then scored twice in the second and once in the third.
Lake Superior goalie Matt Violin gave up three goals Saturday after allowing five on Friday and was replaced by freshmna Jeff Jakaitis at the start of the third period.
Michigan’s line of Kaleniecki, T.J. Hensick and Milan Gajic continued to roll. Gajic and Kaleniecki each netted a goal Saturday, and Hensick had two assists. It was their second straight four-point performance. The trio has played together the last seven games, accumulating 33 points (14 goals and 19 assists). The scrappy Kaleniecki leads Michigan with 13 goals.
“They’re doing a great job,” Ebbett said. “T.J. and Gajic just have great hands, and Kal, he’s just doing what he always does — getting in the right spot at the right time. I like going out on the power play with them. I just kind of stand, hold the puck in and give it to one of those guys, and usually it goes in.”
Michigan also got goals from defenseman Nick Martens and forward David Rohlfs. In a repeat performance from Friday, Ebbett earned two assists. Brandon Rogers also registered two helpers for the Wolverines.
Gajic and Kaleniecki both scored while the Wolverines had the man-advantage, giving Michigan power-play goals in six of its last seven games.
“These kids are getting a little confidence, a little togetherness,” coach Red Berenson said of Michigan’s power play. “They’re playing off of each other better; they’re making their chances count. And then we’ve got two power-play units, and that’s a good thing because I think both of them are dangerous, and on a given night, if one’s not clicking, I think another one is.”
Michigan continues to jostle for position near the top of the CCHA standings with Miami and Michigan State. With their sweep this weekend, the Wolverines moved four points ahead of the Spartans and stayed just one behind the first-place RedHawks.
The Wolverines trek to Fairbanks next weekend to take on the Nanooks, while the Lakers play Michigan State.