Ice Hockey: Wolverines Survive!

The No. 6-ranked Michigan ice hockey team completed its exhibition schedule with a tight 3-2 overtime win over the United States National Team Developmental Program Under-18 team on Sunday at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. Michigan rallied from two separate one goal deficits in the contest and senior T.J. Hensick netted the game winner with just 0.4 seconds left in the extra stanza.

In each of the past two seasons, the United States National Team Developmental Program Under-18 team has come closer and closer to beating the cross-town Wolverines. In each of the past two seasons they've come up just a little bit short. On Sunday, they got their shot at redemption.

Colin Wilson, scheduled to attend Boston University, put the U.S. team on top for the first time just past the midway point of the second period. Wilson beat Michigan goalie Billy Sauer at the 10:30 mark from just outside of the crease to begin the nights scoring.

"They're a good team," U-M coach Red Berenson said after the game. "I think that anyone that watched the game can see the skill level and speed of that team. They're well coached, and it's a good program. They can measure up against any Division 1 performer."

Andrew Cogliano tied the game at 1-1 eight minutes later. Cogliano, fresh off the U-M bench, crashed hard into the space between the USA circles. Hensick found him from along the left boards and Cogliano buried the puck past USA goalie Brad Phillips, a Notre Dame commitment.

The second period ended with the score 1-1. Michigan outshot Team USA 13-10 in the middle frame.

In the third frame, Team USA struck for the second time at the 9:56 mark to move into the lead for the second time. Ryan Hayes scored his fifth goal in his ninth game with the Under-18 team by picking up a loose puck in front of the Michigan crease and flipping it into the top of the net while the Wolverines scrambled to get back into their defensive zone.

That's when the heroics began.

Team USA's James VanRiemsdyk took a tripping penalty with under a minute and a half left in the final frame and the Wolverines down 2-1. Michigan took the opportunity to use their timeout, and came back out for the faceoff with Billy Sauer out of the net and an extra man on the ice.

"We just told them to do some things well," said Berenson. "Going to the net, obviously, and getting shots through. I can't tell you how many shots were blocked."

Michigan won the draw, and Jack Johnson got his shot through from the top of the circles. His blast ricocheted off the USA netminder and trickled into the net to tie the game with 35.5 seconds remaining in the final frame.

Team USA took control of the pace early in overtime, but U-M's Billy Sauer kept the puck out of the Wolverine net on four overtime shots to provide T.J. Hensick with the opportunity for his late game heroics. With less than 15 seconds left in the final frame, Kevin Porter pushed the puck into open ice just across the center line. Hensick, the Wolverines top returning scorer, picked the puck up behind the Team USA defense and crossed the blue line with under four seconds remaining. After a quick move to his backhand, Hensick roofed the puck past Phillips for the winning goal with 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock.

"The first thing that crossed my mind was how much time was left. I knew we were coming short on time. (Travis) Turnbull and (Kevin) Porter just kept the puck moving, and I found a way to get behind that (defense), and luckily it went in. I did not get much of a shot. I think the goalie came out too far and it gave me a little room on the backhand."

With the win, the Wolverines complete the 2006-07 exhibition portion of the schedule with a record of 2-0-0. Alabama-Huntsville comes to Yost Ice Arena on Friday in the Wolverines regular season opener.

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