ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan, last year’s CCHA regular-season champion, didn’t waste any time in its 2005-06 push to defend its title. The Wolverines opened their season with a 3-1 victory over Quinnipiac at Yost Ice Arena.
Kevin Porter led the Wolverines with two goals, while T.J. Hensick and freshman Travis Turnbull each picked up a pair of assists for the Wolverines. Freshman netminder Billy Sauer held a shutout for over 57 minutes before Joe Dumais scored to cut Michigan’s lead in half. Sauer stopped 25 shots on the night.
“Bill played great tonight,” Turnbull said. “He was really in the zone. He came up with some big saves that gave us the momentum and we just went from there.”
Quinnipiac kept the game tight, but an early missed opportunity cost the Bobcats.
Jason Dest earned a major for checking from behind and a 10-minute misconduct with less than two minutes to go in the first period, sending the Bobcats to a five-minute power play. Quinnipiac still had time left on the power play to open the second, but tallied only two shots on net with the man-advantage.
“We came out at the start of the second period and we were flat. We still had three minutes left on the power play and we just didn’t have any urgency,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said.
Michigan fed off the penalty kill, scoring the go-ahead goal less than a minute later on a 5-on-3 advantage.
From the back corner, Turnbull threw the puck out front and drove toward the net. The puck deflected off Brandon Naurato before a diving Danny Fardig flipped the puck over goaltender Bud Fisher’s shoulder at 3:41. It was Fardig’s first goal as a Wolverine. He is one of 11 Michigan freshmen, including eight new forwards.
Porter doubled Michigan’s lead midway through the second period. Hanging below the goal line, Hensick sent a cross-ice feed to Porter standing at the edge of the crease. Porter one-timed the shot by Fisher at 10:48.
“We practice that almost every day. I kind of knew it was coming and the goalie didn’t really expect it,” Hensick said. “I threw it through a couple of guys’ legs; I didn’t even see it.”
Dumais cut the lead in half in the closing minutes of the third on an unassisted goal. But Porter added his second of the night 44 seconds later to seal the victory for Michigan. He cruised down the left wing and threw a puck toward Fisher which deflected off a Quinnipiac defenseman and into the net.
“He [Porter] just chips it across and my defenseman goes to bat it away and he batted it into the net. That’s a bad break; it happens,” Pecknold said. “That certainly deflated us — any time you get a goal like that.”
Michigan will host a rematch between the two teams Saturday night at 7:35.
“There are a lot of things we have to do better tomorrow night,” Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. “From a coaching perspective, just because you win a game doesn’t mean you had a great game. But you have to start somewhere, and I like where we started.”