Ice Hockey: Michigan sweeps Mavericks

In the back end of the two-game weekend series, the No. 10-ranked Michigan ice hockey team continued where it left off last night with a dominating 5-1 win over the visiting Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor Saturday night. Michigan recorded two goals from Brandon Naurato along with one from Brian Lebler, David Rohlfs and Tim Miller.

Nebraska-Omaha must be a friendly face for the No. 10-ranked Michigan ice hockey team. After suffering through the program's first four-game losing streak in over 10 years last season, it was the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks that came to town to end the Wolverines woes as Michigan swept the Mavericks back out to Nebraska. In seven home regular season series since then, the Wolverines have yet to accomplish that feat again.

The Mavericks of UNO were back in town again this weekend, and after a 6-4 Friday win, the Wolverines came back to the rink on Saturday night with two more points in the CCHA standings in mind.

"It (a weekend sweep) was huge, we were talking about it all morning at the pre-game skate," said Michigan forward Brandon Naurato, a two-goal scorer on the night. "We were talking about singing (the Victors) and getting a sweep because we hadn't done it in three weeks or so. We want to start making it a habit."

A sweep is what the Wolverines wanted, and a sweep was what they were going to get. Naurato put Michigan on top 1-0 just 7:38 into the first frame by flipping a rebound over the glove of Nebraska-Omaha goalie Jeremie Dupont after a Jack Johnson shot from the point.

"That was what we talked about in the locker room -- how important it can be if you are a fourth line player," said Michigan coach Red Berenson on Naurato and the rest of the lines effort after the game. "You may not kill penalties, you may not get on the power play, and you do not get the quality ice time other players get, but you make your ice time count.

It went to 2-0 just minutes later when Brian Lebler scored his second goal of the weekend on a botched clearing attempt by the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks. After a save on a Chad Kolarik shot, the puck bounced in front of the net to the Mavericks' Dan Knapp. Knapp fired the puck down the center of the ice, but, before it could clear the zone, Lebler kicked the puck to his waiting stick in the slot and fired the puck past the glove of Dupont midway through the frame.

Michigan held a 2-0 lead and a 16-8 edge in shots after one period.

David Rohlfs increased the lead with his fifth goal of the season, just one short of his career high, 4:38 into the second period. After making his way into the left faceoff circle, Rohlfs received a pass from Kevin Porter and quickly spun around and fired a shot at the Mavericks net. Dupont wasn't ready for the surprising shot and the puck flew between his legs to make it 3-0.

"When the game starts to go one way or another, it is important that we are ready to pay the price to play good team defense and come back and help our goalie and our defense. I thought we got away from it a little in the second period, but we played a lot stronger in the third," Berenson said.

Naurato added his second goal of the night six minutes into the final frame. Camped out in front of the UNO net, Naurato snapped a one-timer past Dupont after a feed from Danny Fardig behind the Nebraska-Omaha net.

Nebraska-Omaha would score their only goal of the contest 11 seconds later on a long rebound that caught Michigan goalie Billy Sauer off guard, but Tim Miller extended the Michigan lead back to four goals just minutes later with a tap in after a beautiful setup from center Andrew Cogliano. Cogliano faked to the near post and drew an attempt at the puck from Dupont before wrapping around the back and feeding Miller just outside the goal mouth.

With the sweep out of the way, the Wolverines head on the road for just the second time of the season with a pair of games at Ferris State on Nov. 17 and No. 18.

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