ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Slow out of the gate in the opening period, fourth -ranked Michigan used two goal performances by Matt Rust and Louie Caporusso to hold off pesky Lake Superior State, 6-2, Friday night at Yost Ice Arena.
David Wohlberg added a goal and an assist to the Michigan cause continuing his solid freshman season.
The Wolverine victory boosted their CCHA point total to 28 points in their fight to move into the top four positions in the conference and earn a first round conference playoff bye. Michigan drew even with third place Alaska and moved two points up on Ohio State after the Buckeyes overtime loss to Notre Dame Friday night.
I didnt think that the score was indicative of the game, said Michigan Head Coach Red Berenson. In the first period, they were as good as anyone weve played. In the second period, we got some quick goals and took advantage of some chances. Theyre a good team and we put our chances in.
After Michigans sluggish start, Rusts shorthanded goal with only six seconds left in the first period completely turned around the Wolverines fortunes in the game
The Wolverine sophomore pivot tipped a Laker crossing pass into the neutral zone, grabbed the puck in full stride and streaked down the right wing. Using linemate Carl Hagelin as a decoy, Rust beat the only Laker defender back and deposited the puck past Laker netminder Pat Inglis to tie the game, 1-1.
Matt Rusts goal was huge, said Berenson. That helped our team and maybe helped slow their team down a bit.
We spent a lot of time before the game just talking about and focusing on their power play and what they would do, said Rust. We knew they would pass from point to point. Being on the penalty kill, it is somewhat luck. You have to be able to make the reads here and there and I was one step ahead of the defender and got lucky.
Caporusso agreed on the games turning point.
It was Matt Rusts goal, Caporusso emphatically stated. I think that really turned things around. We just decided to come out in the second period and keep pressuring.
Lake Superior had taken an initial at 6:05 of the first period on Will Actons sixth goal of the season. Matt Cowie found Acton alone in the right circle with a pass from the left point. Cowie had time to stop the puck and set up his shot before snapping the puck into the open Wolverine cage past a distracted Hogan, who appeared to lose track of the puck completely after the pass was made.
As effective in the second period as they were ineffective in the first, Michigan poured 18 shots on the Laker goal in the middle period finding the mark three times.
Wohlberg started the scoring parade only 1:14 into the second period, but Travis Turnbull deserved the lions share of the credit for the goal. Turnbull muscled Laker Steven Oleksy off the puck behind the Lake Superior goal and fed the puck to a wide open Wohlberg in the slot for the score.
Only 34 seconds later, freshman Wolverine forward Luke Glendening rifled a loose puck past Inglis unassisted to increase the Michigan lead to 3-1.
The quick pair of Wolverine goals marked the sixth time this season that Michigan notched a pair of tallies less than a minute apart.
At 9:06 on the power play, Caporusso completed the second period onslaught on a pretty three-way passing play started by Wohlberg and Chad Langlais, putting the Wolverines up, 4-1.
Rust and Caporusso also struck pay dirt with goals in the final period sandwiched around Rick Schofields power play marker for Lake Superior
Caporussos two goal effort boosted his goal-scoring total to 22, at least temporarily putting him out front of Air Forces Jacques Lamoreaux for the NCAA lead in goals. .
Michigan (20-9-0, 14-7-0-0 CCHA) and Lake Superior (9-12-8, 6-9-6-1) meet again at Yost Arena Saturday in the weekend finale.
Tomorrow night will be a battle, said Berenson of Saturdays re-match. I dont think theyve gone a weekend without picking up points in the league. Theyre a good, hard-working team. Tomorrow will be another game.