Ice Hockey: Porter's two goals lift U-M

The No. 6 Michigan ice hockey team returned to non-conference action tonight at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor for the front end of a two game series with the Northeastern Huskies. Kevin Porter scored two goals for Wolverines, including the game winner 1:01 into overtime, to lift the Michigan offense in a 4-3 overtime win.

In a game when special teams ruled the night, it's only fitting that it took the Wolverines third power-play goal of the night to win in. Kevin Porter scored his second power-play goal of the night for the Maize and Blue just 1:01 into the extra frame to propel the Wolverines to a 4-3 overtime win over the Northeastern Huskies.

"It felt great to finally score a goal. In the second period, it was great and then to get that last one was awesome," Porter said after the game.

In the opening frame, David Rohlfs put the Wolverines on top for the first time at the 4:08 mark with the Wolverines first power-play goal of the night. Skating with the one-man advantage, Michigan senior center T.J. Hensick carried the puck over the Huskies blue line to lead the Wolverines in a three-on-two rush. After faking to the left, Hensick's backhand pass to Rohlfs in the right faceoff circle caught Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen on the wrong post and Rohlfs fired the puck into the near side of the net to put Michigan on top 1-0.

Northeastern answered in the final minutes of the period with a power-play goal of its own. Steve Birnstill fired a hard shot past Michigan goalie Billy Sauer from the bottom of the right circle as Sauer scrambled back into position after a flurry of tape-to-tape passes caught the Wolverines goalie on the wrong post while trying to kill a five-on-three penalty.

Northeastern outshot Michigan 10-9 through one period thanks to four Husky power plays.

Kevin Porter's first goal, a power-play goal in the opening five minutes of the second period, put Michigan back on top. Porter, camped out at home in front of the Huskies net, sent a laser from T.J. Hensick past Thiessen to make the score 2-1 in front of the home crowd.

Northeastern answered again, again on the power play, to draw even with the Wolverines. With control of the puck in the Michigan zone and an extra skater, the Huskies threw the puck at the Michigan net into a crowd. Billy Sauer made the initial save, but the puck bounced out in front of the net to the Huskies' Mike Morris who quickly fired the puck past Sauer and into the net.

Mike Morris added his second goal, the Huskies third and final power-play goal of the night, on their second five-on-three of the night. Morris, stationed between the top of the circles, fired a rocket past a screened Sauer into the net to give Northeastern their only lead of the contest close to midway through the second period.

Northeastern had an opportunity to double their lead just over midway through the frame, but Billy Sauer rejected a Huskies breakaway to keep the score 3-2.

Chad Kolarik tied the game 3-3 with 4.5 seconds left in the period with the contest only even strength goal of the game. Kolarik's redirection of an Andrew Cogliano feed beat the Huskies netminder for Kolarik's eighth goal of the season.

Neither team was able to score in the final 20 minutes of play, but the Wolverines outshot the Huskies and kept the pressure on Northeastern drawing a penalty in the Huskies zone with under a minute left on the clock. Michigan couldn't put it away in regulation, but the extra skater made all the difference in the opening minute of the overtime period.

In the five minute overtime, T.J. Hensick opened the frame with a big face-off win to grab control of the puck. After the puck found its way over to Matt Hunwick, the Wolverines captain carried the puck into the zone and set up the power play. Hunwick slid the puck across the blue line to defenseman Jack Johnson, and Johnson ripped a blistering shot at the net that found Porter's stick for a redirection goal to cement the Wolverines 4-3 win.

"It's not fun. At practice I'm told to get out of the way. In the game you just have to stand there, close your eyes, and put your stick on the ice," Porter said about standing in front of a Jack Johnson slap shot and scoring the game winning goal. "I knew it was coming. I threw my stick on the ice and just tried to position myself better so the goalie couldn't see."

Michigan and Northeastern return to Yost Ice Arena tomorrow night for the finale of a two-game weekend series. Start time is scheduled for 7:35.

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