OMAHA, Neb. — A combined six points from Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik, most of them coming in the third period, helped third ranked Michigan double up Nebraska-Omaha, 6-3, in front of 9,356 at Qwest Center Omaha on Friday night.
In a closer game than the score suggested, it was Porter’s pair of goals that made the difference for Michigan as they sent UNO crashing to a loss in their first league home game of the season.
Kolarik’s goal and two assists added insult to injury for the Mavericks, and a third-period offensive onslaught gave the Wolverines the two points and a chance to finish off a road sweep Saturday night.
In a first period with plenty of end-to-end action but not too many real scoring opportunities from either team to show for it, it was the Wolverines who drew first blood. Michigan captain Kevin Porter notched his fifth goal of the season when he beat UNO goaltender Jeremie Dupont on a power-play goal 4:30 into the game.
Dupont squared up to and saved all but one of the seven shots he faced in the opening period, but it was the one that got by him that threw any momentum UNO might’ve had away from them and towards the visitors.
Not surprisingly, it was Porter who served as the Wolverine’s talisman in the opening period. He steered the Michigan offense ahead as UNO’s defense allowed and also took the most shots for his team in the opening stanza.
The second period found UNO drawing even before taking their first lead of the night. With 7:24 gone in the period, Maverick senior Bill Bagron got a piece of a loose puck in a scramble in front of the Michigan and equalized for the Mavericks with a shot that trickled underneath Billy Sauer and into the net.
With six minutes left in the period, two Maverick freshmen connected for the first points of their collegiate careers. Joey Martin set up Rich Parslow to beat Sauer and gave UNO their first lead of the night.
UNO dominated the period both in terms of shots on goal and also in the way that they shut down the offensive channels that Michigan had taken advantage of in the first period.
The game started to really take shape away from the nets as well, as referee Mark Wilkins started calling penalties on both sides at an ever-increasing rate, the most notable being Maverick defenseman Pasko Skarica’s 10-minute misconduct call for a contact to the head near the halfway point.
But for as much as the second period belonged to UNO, Michigan paid the Mavericks back in the third with interest. Thirty-five seconds into the third period, Porter notched his second tally of the night, and another four Wolverine goals would come afterwards.
Chad Kolarik made the game 4-2 three minutes later, before goals from Steve Kampfer, Brian Lebler and Porter’s hat trick sealed the deal.
“You can’t give up those late goals, because that’s the difference in the game,” UNO coach Mike Kemp said. “It’s very frustrating, and very disappointing.”
Michigan coach Red Berenson was unavailable for comment after the game.
A goal from UNO freshman Alain Goulet made it 4-3 after Kolarik scored, but it was too little, too late.
The two teams face off again Saturday evening in Omaha.