ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Freshman Luke Glendenings fourth and fifth goals of the season pushed Michigan past Nebraska-Omaha, 4-2, Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena.
The fourth ranked Wolverines surrendered two early goals in a penalty-filled first period, then rallied in the second to tie the contest before Glendenings heroics made the difference late in the third.
The win increases Michigans point total to 34 in the CCHA standings, clinching a first-round playoff bye for the Wolverines..
It was another difficult game, said Michigan head coach Red Berenson. We didnt expect to be two men down for half the first period. Its tough. We were two goals down. I think our team was confident that they could get one back and then another one and thats kind of what happened. I thought our team stayed in the game and played hard despite the officiating and despite the adversity.
We looked at last nights game and actually it wasnt a horrible game, said Nebraska-Omaha head coach Mike Kemp, The score was not really indicative of the game. We didnt take advantage of our bounces and we gave them to many good chances.
Tonight, Jerad Kaufman played an excellent hockey game. We really defended very, very well. I thought our team defended well for most of the game.
Maverick netminder Kaufman held Michigan scoreless for the games initial 35 minutes making several acrobatic stops among the 36 total saves he recorded in the contest.
Michigans Billy Sauer replaced flu-ridden Bryan Hogan in the Michigan net as he did for the final few minutes of Friday nights contest, blocking all but two of the Mavericks 30 shots.
Billy played really well, complimented Berenson.. Nebraska-Omaha could have scored more than two goals. I thought Billy was one of the stars of the game.
It was nice, said a relieved Sauer. It took awhile, so (at the beginning), I was like Here we go again. But, then in the second period these guys came through for me and they were great.
The Nebraska-Omaha power play was the story of the first period. The Mavericks capitalized twice, during a major penalty to Michigans Tim Miller for kneeing, on goals by Joey Martin and Rich Purslow.
During Millers major, the Wolverines were hit with additional two-minute minor to Danny Fardig for boarding. With only four seconds remaining on the resulting five-on-three advantage at 9:50, Martin picked his own rebound out of the air, batting the puck over Sauers shoulder to put Nebraska-Omaha ahead, 1-0.
Nebraska-Omaha made Michigan pay even further for the Miller major just 30 seconds later. Rich Purslow beat Sauer at 10:20 to extend the Maverick advantage to 2-0.
Two Michigan minor penalties on the same play, one each to Chris Summers and Brian Lebler, gave Nebraska-Omaha another full two minute two-man advantage at 11:42. Sauer and the Michigan penalty kill held strong keeping the Wolverines within two goals after the first period.
Obviously, that was really important, said Kemp of the failed five-on three. We could have built a bigger cushion for ourselves. We missed our opportunities. When you do that, thats very costly.. That was unfortunate because we had some good chances and just didnt get them put away.
Michigan stormed back in the second period pelting Kaufman with 18 shots, two of which found the back of the net knotting the score at 2-2 after two period.
After a series of spectacular saves by Kaufman held them off the board for much of the period, Michigans Travis Turnbull one-timed Louie Caporussos cross-ice pass by Kaufman from the right corner of the crease at 15:04.
Turnbull was the catalyst on Michigans game-tying effort as well. The senior forward streaked into the Maverick zone on the right wing blistering a shot that Kaufman kicked out right onto the stick of Brian Lebler. Lebler easily found the empty net on the rebound at 16:44
Both teams missed golden opportunities in the third before Louie Caporusso fed Glendening a perfect leading pass into the offensive and the freshman scored the winner high over Kaufmans glove at 15:32.
Glendening added an empty netter a few minutes later to ice the come-from-behind Michigan win.
Having a guy like him does a lot for the team, said Caporusso of Glendening. Hes been playing hard all year and it was just a matter of time before he started popping them in. He has a lot of potential.
Its been a tough second half, Kemp offered. “Obviously, this weekend, at least, we found five goals on the weekend, doubling our output for the last few weeks. Actually, its probably quadrupling our output for the last few weeks. Its been a tough stretch for us. It has been for want of opportunities.
Weve watched a tremendous season kind of slip through our fingers here in the second half and it hasnt been for want of effort.. Those kids have worked hard all year long and Im not faulting them on their effort. Theyve got themselves kind of clutching the stick too tight and struggling through a lot of adversity.