Ice Hockey: Wolverines drop series finale

The No. 6-ranked Michigan ice hockey team returned to the ice at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor tonight for the tail end of a two game weekend series with the Northeastern Huskies. Despite jumping out on top 1-0 in the first period, the Wolverines couldn't hold on as Northeastern battled back to salvage a weekend split with a 3-2 victory over the Wolverines.

It was just last night that the Wolverines buried Northeastern 4-3 in overtime behind a spectacular effort from the power play that saw the Wolverines net three special team's goals. Tonight, the Wolverines couldn't buy one. Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen turned aside 45 shots from the Wolverines and kept the Wolverines at bay with the extra skater forcing a 0-for-12 effort on the power play for the Maize and Blue.

"You have to give credit to the goalie (Brad Thiessen) obviously. He made the saves he had to make. Their defense kept us away from any loose pucks. I think we had one rebound goal in the game," said Michigan coach Red Berenson after the disappointing loss. "I give credit to their overall team. They check hard. We generated good offense, but we needed to put one behind the goalie; particularly to get the game tied up, but we just couldn't get that one goal. As you can see, the power play wasn't effective. We couldn't score when we had the chances, and that's when you really need your power play to bear down."

In the first period, it was the Wolverines that struck first at the 7:49 mark of the frame. Jack Johnson netted his fourth goal of the season for the Maize and Blue after the Huskies zone was attained by center T.J. Hensick. Hensick carried the puck into the zone and flipped a pass to Johnson, who beat Thiessen with a rocket to put Michigan on top 1-0.

Michigan outshot the Huskies 11-4 in the first frame, but could get no more in the period while going 0-for-4 on the power play.

Northeastern tied the score five minutes into the second period on a shot that U-M goalie Billy Sauer could do very little about. After two tape-to-tape passes, Randy Guzior spun around in front of the crease and flipped a backhand shot over the shoulder of Sauer to make it 1-1.

Minutes later they took the lead for good. On the power play, Northeastern's Jimmy Russo jammed the puck past Sauer from just off the post on a feed from behind the Wolverines net.

Northeastern threatened to double the lead midway through the period, but Sauer denied the Huskies on a breakaway. The Northeastern player was not able to stop and plowed into the Michigan goalie, and Jack Johnson, the first Wolverine back was shown the gate for defending his netminder and pummeling the Husky responsible.

Northeastern did double their lead at 3-1, however, with a goal midway through the final period of the contest.

Michigan answered with a rebound goal from Kevin Porter in the final five minutes of the game, but the Wolverines could get no closer as they dropped the decision 3-2.

Michigan returns to CCHA action against Michigan State this Friday at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing.

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