Wolverines Advance to CCHA Tournament Finals

The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines hockey team continued their run towards a Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament championship today at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Goals from <b>Brandon Kaleniecki</b>, <b>Jeff Tambellini</b>, and <b>Chad Kolarik</b> paced the Wolverines on their way to a 3-1 victory over the Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks. The win sets up a rematch of last year's CCHA tournament championship against Ohio State.

The Wolverines opened Super Six play at Joe Louis Arena in the early game of Friday's doubleheader. In what has become a trend lately, Michigan was held scoreless in the first period of play, however, that wasn't enough to stop them from reaching the tournament championship with a 3-1 victory over the Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks.

12:13 into the second period, Wolverine forward Brandon Kaleniecki beat Nanook goalie Wylie Rogers for the game's first goal. Kaleniecki teamed up with junior Jeff Tambellini; flipping the puck past Rogers as the Wolverines broke into the zone with an odd-man rush.

After the Kaleniecki goal, the teams exchanged power plays with neither team being able to capitalize on the one-man advantage.

The Wolverines added one more goal in the closing seconds of the second period. Kaleniecki and Tambellini connected again to put the Wolverines on top 2-0, this time with Kaleniecki dumping the puck into the Nanook zone for Tambellini to fire past Rogers from the right face-off circle with 19 seconds remaining in the period.

Through two periods of play Michigan out shot the Nanooks 29-9.

Ryan McLeod cut into the Wolverines lead 2:43 into the final period of play, beating Michigan goaltender Al Montoya through his legs after a Michigan turnover inside their own blue line. The goal by McLeod snapped Montoya's shut out streak spanning 128 minutes.

From that point on, however, the Nanooks were unable to light the lamp behind Al Montoya. The Wolverines' junior goalie turned away 12 shots in the contest.

Chad Kolarik closed the scoring, netting a power-play goal at 6:34 of the final period. Eric Nystrom set up the Wolverine goal by sending the puck from the right corner, through the crease, and to the waiting stick of Kolarik. Kolarik flung the puck past Rogers as he dove back in front of the net as part of a last ditch effort to make the save.

The win increased the Wolverines' winning streak to 10 games, and improves their non-losing steak to 13 games with an 11-0-2 record.

Michigan now advances to the CCHA Tournament Championship on Saturday where they will meet Ohio State, the No. 2 seed. The Wolverines and Buckeyes have met twice during the year, splitting a two-game series in Columbus.

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