DETROIT — Michigan is one win away from extending its NCAA tournament streak to 23 years.
Andrew Copp scored twice, and the Wolverines beat tournament top seed Miami 6-2 to stretch an unbeaten streak that has kept their season alive to nine games.
The scoring didn’t start quickly but went feverish during the second period.
At the 3:36 mark, Copp scored the first of two goals for the Wolverines while short-handed. He scored his second goal six minutes later with helpers from Jacob Trouba and Jon Merrill.
Then Michigan’s offense exploded. Luke Moffatt scored at 10:50, followed by A.J. Treais at 11:33, both within two minutes of Copp’s second goal.
“When you look at the score, you’d think it was a one-sided game but it really wasn’t,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “It could have easily been just a one-goal game. I thought we were fortunate to score the first goal, when you think about it. It’s a short-handed goal.”
After killing off a five-on-three disadvantage, Miami got on the score sheet with 2:46 remaining in the second period. Sean Kuraly gave the RedHawks some life, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
That is until a minute later when Marc Hagel of Miami went to the penalty box for tripping.
Michigan scored two more goals in the third period with Miami adding another as well.
“It wasn’t just the offense; it was the defense, too,” Berenson said. “Our goalie had to be a real factor in this game. We made a lot of mistakes that didn’t end up in our net.”
The RedHawks had already guaranteed themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.
“We’ve moved on already,” Miami coach Rico Blasi said. “It’s something that we have to learn from. We have a lot of young guys in that locker room that haven’t been in that situation.
“I’m a big believer everything happens for a reason and we’ll learn from it and we’ll continue to teach our guys during the week. And now we’ve got a game to get ready for next week.”
The Wolverines, meanwhile, are playing with a desperation they have rarely needed. If they do not win the title game tomorrow, they will miss out on the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990.
“Our goal was to get into the championship game and now we’ll be in it. Now it’s what we do with that,” Berenson said. “The weekend’s not over and our team knows that, and they put it on the line tonight but they know that tomorrow’s game is going to be tougher.”
Michigan advanced to the championship game for the 18th time, seeking its 10th title. The team on the ice at Joe Louis Arena this weekend is different than the team that went 10-18-3 up until Feb. 22.
At one point, goaltending was the question mark with Michigan. Freshman Steve Racine has answered, though, going 8-0-1 in the Wolverines’ last nine games.
Michigan will take on Notre Dame for the final CCHA championship at 2:05 p.m. EDT Sunday.