Michigan Advances to Super Six

After winning game one of the best of three series against Nebraska-Omaha, the Mavericks battled back last night forcing a game three tonight at Yost Ice Arena.

Jeff Tambellini and Dwight Helminen stepped up for the Maize and Blue scoring two goals apiece as the Wolverines skated to a 5-1 victory over Nebraska-Omaha. Michigan out shot the Mavericks 35-23.

Just like last night, the Wolverines got off to a quick start in the deciding game in the series. Only 13 minutes into the game, Tambellini was able to get the Wolverines on the scoreboard as he took a cross-ice pass from Matt Hunwick and was able to one-time it through the legs of Maverick goalie Chris Holt.

That was the end of Michigan’s momentum for the first two periods though. After a Michigan scoring opportunity was squandered, the Mavericks Mike Lefley lead an odd-man rush into the Michigan zone. After a centering pass to streaking Alex Nikiforuk, the forward beat Montoya stick side to knot the score 1-1 with 4 minutes left in the first period. The two teams skated through most of the second period scoreless as the Wolverines out shot Nebraska-Omaha 11-3 until Nebraska-Omaha was able to take advantage of another Michigan mistake. On another odd man rush, Maverick forward Scott Parse ripped off a shot from the left face-off circle. After an acrobatic save by Montoya the puck trickled to the opposite side where Parse was able to collect his own rebound and slap the puck top shelf off the crossbar into the net giving Nebraska-Omaha the 2-1 lead. With the second period coming to a close, things started looking dim for the Wolverines.

The teams came back out onto ice for the third period and Michigan was skating like it was a life or death situation. Only seven minutes into the third period, the Wolverines put it in the back of the net to tie the score. After Mike Brown, last night’s goal scorer, ripped a shot on net from the left side of the ice, there was a frantic pile up in front of the Maverick net trying to cover the puck. Before anybody was able to freeze the puck Dwight Helminen skated in pushing the puck underneath everybody into the Maverick net. With the score tied at two Michigan skated like a team with new confidence. Only 59 seconds after the Helminen goal Eric Werner was able to put the Wolverines ahead for good. After a quick wrist shot on net, Werner collected his own rebound snapping another shot that split the legs of Chris Holt putting Michigan on top 3-2.

Only minutes late Jeff Tambellini put in his second goal of the night to give the Wolverines some breathing room. With the puck inside the Maverick blue line, Michigan possessed the puck looking for the open shot. Jeff Tambellini received the puck and slapped a low line drive right towards the Maverick net. With Chris Holt screened the puck was able to beat the goalie extending the Michigan lead to two goals with 10 minutes left in the game.

Helminen then sealed the game for the Wolverines with an empty net goal with less than two minutes remaining and now Michigan advances to the CCHA Super Six where they will receive a first round bye and face the lowest remaining seed on Friday at Joe Louis Arena.

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