ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan goaltender Billy Sauer held off a furious onslaught by Boston University through the first half of the game and freshman Matt Rust took over from there with two goals to lead the Wolverines to a 4-2 victory over the Terriers Friday night at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor.
Although he eventually allowed two BU markers in the third period, Sauer turned away all 27 Terrier shots through two periods giving his Wolverine teammates the breathing room they needed to get their own offensive momentum going.
“Billy kept us in the game,” said Michigan head coach Red Berenson. “If Billy hadn’t had a much better than average game, then we wouldn’t be talking about a victory. The whole game would have taken a different direction. He was the difference.”
“I think (Boston University) had 15 or 16 shots in the first period,” said Michigan captain Kevin Porter. “We knew if we came down and got a few shots on net and a quick goal that we would be right back in the game.”
Outshooting Michigan 15-6 in the opening stanza, the Terriers looked like a team intent on avenging their early season slow start dominating play throughout most of the first period.
“You have to give BU credit,” said Berenson of the Terriers torrid start. “They were all over us and they were the better team. We couldn’t get anything going. We couldn’t get any forecheck. We couldn’t get any confidence. We got better as the game went on and it became a different game. We’re happy with the win. I can’t say we’re happy with the way we played.”
Despite being outshot and outplayed, Michigan still had a pair of golden opportunities to score with both senior Chad Kolarik and freshman Aaron Palushaj ringing shots of the goalposts behind BU netminder Brett Bennett.
Rust opened the scoring at 12:08 of the second period skating the length of the ice alone from inside his own blueline, slipping the puck between Bennett’s legs for the goal.
“Initially, I just picked the puck up and tried to beat the defenseman,” said Rust of the start of his end-to-end rush. “I had my head down for the first half and then I picked my head up and saw that there was a pretty big hole in the five-hole, and I went with it.”
Just a minute later, yet another Wolverine freshman, Aaron Palushaj, ripped a shot high over Bennett’s glove hand to put the Wolverines up 2-0 after two periods.
The Wolverines missed another prime scoring chance earlier in the period when Travis Turnbull took a pass coming out of the penalty box and broke in on Bennett alone only to have the puck slide off his stick while trying to shoot.
BU served notice early in the third period that the game was far from over.
While on the power play at 2:47 of the period, Terrier defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk intercepted a Mark Mitera clearing attempt at the blue line, slid the puck forward to Jason Lawrence who whipped the puck underneath Sauer to draw BU within one goal of Michigan, 2-1.
The Wolverines bounced right back at the eight minute mark with a power play goal of their own. Mitera’s shot from the point was deflected mid-air by Rust to re-establish the Wolverine’s two-goal lead, 3-1
Less than four minutes later, the seesawing goals continued when Terrier Dan McGoff ripped a shot by Sauer from the right circle pulling the BU right back within striking distance, 3-2.
Senior captain Kevin Porter re-established the two-goal lead the Wolverines wouldn’t relinquish at 13:42. Porter drove toward the Terrier net and, though unable to get a shot off, flipped the puck in the air. The puck deflected off BU defenseman Colby Cohen’s stick past Bennett.
The Terriers came into Friday night’s game looking to rebound from a disappointing start that included losses to Robert Morris and New Hampshire as well as a tie with Alaska Anchorage.
Michigan earned its No. 3 ranking with two victories over Northern Michigan and an opening night win against Boston College. The Wolverines only setback came against Minnesota in a tight 4-3 loss.
Boston University (0-3-1, 0-1-0 Hockey East) and Michigan (4-1-0, 2-0-0 CCHA) get right back into action Saturday night with an 8:30 puck drop at Yost Arena, an hour later than usual because of the Wolverine’s late afternoon football game against Minnesota.