Ice Hockey: Michigan Dominant

The No. 6-ranked Michigan ice hockey team took to the ice at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor on Friday night in the first of two weekend tune-ups for the 2006-07 regular season. T.J. Hensick and Jack Johnson both recorded six points for the Wolverines as the Maize and Blue coasted to a dominating 10-2 victory.

The No. 6-ranked Michigan ice hockey team opened the 2006-07 season with a dominating win at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor on Friday with a 10-2 win over the Waterloo Warriors. Senior forward T.J. Hensick and sophomore Jack Johnson each tallied six points for the Wolverines as the Maize and Blue prepare for the regular season opener next weekend.

"I saw little bits of good things, and hopefully our power play can continue to be a threat," said U-M head coach Red Berenson after the game. "Hopefully our goalkeeping can be solid; we need to be better defensively in some areas though. But you need to have games like this so you can get everybody in some type of game situation. But overall, I like our team."

With the offensive performance the Wolverines churned out, it'd be hard not to.

Just 1:26 into the opening frame, Kevin Porter, a junior forward for the Maize and Blue, beat Waterloo goalie Curtis Darling for the first of five Michigan power-play goals. Porter tucked a rebound past the Warriors sprawled out netminder, and Michigan was off and running.

After Porter netted his second goal just over three minutes later, the Wolverines went to work on the power play. Chad Kolarik, another junior forward, pushed the Wolverines lead to three goals with his first of two power-play goals as the final seconds ran off the clock in the first period.

At 5:14 of the second period, Kolarik added his second power-play goal of the night. With the one-man advantage, Kolarik scooped the puck up after a long rebound and flung the puck in from a sharp angle behind the out of position goalie.

Brian Lebler joined in the fun with his first goal as a Wolverine on a Warrior miscue in front of the net. Lebler, a top level prospect that selected the Wolverines over defending national champion Wisconsin, ripped a shot into the scrum in front of the Waterloo net with just over five minutes to go in the middle stanza. As the puck floated down to the ice, a Warrior defenseman batted at the puck and sent it over the shoulder of his netminder to make the lead 5-0.

Jason Bailey and Jack Johnson each added their first goal of the game before the end of the period.

"We are happy with the way our team looks right now," Jack Johnson said after the game. "We are looking forward to the start of the season."

Tim Cook pinched in from the blue line at 5:24 of the third period to push the Wolverines lead to eight goals. Cook crashed between the circles where T.J. Hensick found him to snap the puck into the top left corner of the net. The assist was Hensick's fifth of the night.

Waterloo lit the lamp for the first time with 10:28 remaining in the third frame. Mike Della Mora sent a rebound past the Wolverines sprawled out backup goalie Steve Jakiel to make the score 8-1.

Michigan added two more goals, a second goal for Jack Johnson and one from T.J. Hensick, to end the Wolverines scoring, and Mike Della Mora added his second goal of the game to conclude the scoring.

Almost lost in the offensive performance was that of starting goalie Billy Sauer. After losing his starting job midway through last season, the Wolverines sophomore goalie dominated the Waterloo offense turning away shot after shot. In two shutout periods, Sauer turned aside 21 Warrior shots and was a critical cog in keeping the Waterloo power play team off the scoreboard until the game was no longer in doubt.

The Michigan hockey team will have Saturday off before the United States National Team Developmental Program Under-18 team comes to Yost Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon for the Wolverines final tune-up of the season.

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