Ice Hockey: Sweep!

The No. 13-ranked Michigan ice hockey team completed its first weekend sweep since mid-November with a 5-2 win over the University of Alaska Nanooks on Saturday night at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Michigan rallied from a 1-0 deficit after the first period to tie it in the second and explode for four goals in the final 20 minutes.

After trailing the Alaska Nanooks 1-0 after the first period, the No. 13-ranked Michigan Wolverines stormed back with five goals in the final 40 minutes to record the Wolverines first sweep since taking a pair from the Ferris State Bulldogs on November 18-19. U-M goalie Billy Sauer continued his hot play in front of the net turning aside 32 of 34 shots and the Michigan offense exploded for four goals in the final period to complete the weekend sweep.

Alaska jumped on top of the Wolverines early in the weekend finale. Just one night after failing to deliver on a 5-on-3 power play in the opening minutes of the game, Alaska did just that with a power-play goal 12:09 into the period. Curtis Fraser put the home team on top by tapping the puck past Sauer on the back post to make it 1-0.

The Nanooks continued to apply pressure on the Michigan net, but Sauer answered each challenge to hold Alaska to one goal on 15 shots in the first period.

Battling through the second period, the Wolverines tied the score 1-1 at 16:43 off the stick of Andrew Cogliano. Scoring his fourth goal since returning from the World Junior Championships, Cogliano slipped the puck past Alaska goalie Chad Johnson on a redirection of a pass from Travis Turnball.

Michigan outshot the Nanooks 10-9 in the second period, the only one where Michigan held the edge in shots.

The Wolverines took their first lead of the game 5:26 into the third period. Tim Miller was credited for the power-play goal. Miller chipped at a loose puck in front of the net and the puck flew over Johnson and gave Michigan its first lead. 30 seconds later the Wolverines put it away.

David Rohlfs scored what would eventually become the game winning goal at 5:56, beating Johnson through the legs after taking in a pass from Kevin Porter in the right circle.

After picking up a pair of assists on each of the Wolverines first goals, Naurato made it a three point night with a goal of his own at 7:35. Naurato fired a shot from the slot through Johnson's five-hole to make it three Michigan goals in less then three minutes time.

Alaska would answer the Naurato goal with just under five minutes to go, but it was too little too late and Jack Johnson sealed the weekend sweep with an empty net goal to make it a 5-2 final.

Michigan next returns to the ice at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor for a two game series with the Ferris State Bulldogs on January 26-27.

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