MARQUETTE, Mich. — No. 2 Michigan gutted out a difficult 4-3 overtime win at Northern Michigan on Saturday. Brandon Naurato snuck a wrist shot past the goalie 2:21 into the overtime to clinch the sweep for the Wolverines. Billy Sauer gave up three goals, and made 28 saves, including several timely stops, in the victory.
Despite being a man down Michigan notched the first goal of the game at 4:44 of the first period. Northern Michigan turned the puck over in its own zone where Andrew Cogliano was waiting. Cogliano pulled the two defenders in his direction and found Kevin Porter at the back right post for a tap-in goal.
The Wildcats tied the game with the two extra skaters at 8:36 when Jamie Milam slapped the puck by Sauer’s blocker from the right point.
Northern Michigan took its first lead of the series at 13:38 when Matt Siddall skated down the right wing and beat Sauer to the top left corner.
Almost immediately after a major penalty to Michigan’s Travis Turnbull had expired midway through the second period, Jason Dest gained control of the puck in his own zone and sent it up ice. Dest’s pass hit Tim Miller and deflected forward to Naurato, who was serving Turnbull’s penalty and had just stepped out of the box. Naurato took a few strides down the right wing and innocently sent a wrist shot on Bill Zaniboni. The Wildcats goalie misplayed the fluttering shot with his glove and it bounced into the goal at 8:16 to knot the score at 2-2.
Five minutes later at 13:09 Michigan regained the lead at 3-2. Skating four-on-three, Jack Johnson one-timed a T.J. Hensick pass through the Zaniboni’s pads.
Northern Michigan had two prime scoring chances early in the third period. With 19:15 on the clock, Andew Contois missed an open net after a rebound shot sat in the crease. A minute and a half later, Darin Olver sent a shot high after a solid crossing pass.
The Wildcats eventually tied the game at 3-3 with 11:17 left to play in regulation. On the power play, Contois took a pass in the left circle, turned and sent a shot low past Sauer’s left pad.
Inside the five-minute mark Contois and Dirk Southern each had good chances to give the Wildcats the lead again. Sauer stopped Contois with his blocker on a short breakaway from the slot. Southern had a rebound chance at the right side of the goal and Sauer stoned him by making a split save. Sauer made two more key saves to send the game into overtime.