Ice Hockey: Johnson powers Michigan past FSU

The No. 11-ranked Wolverines hockey team picked up their fourth straight win with a 6-2 win over the Ferris State Bulldogs on Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. Jack Johnson completed his eight point weekend with both a pair of goals and assists, and Michigan goalie Billy Sauer turned aside 22 shots in front of the Michigan net for the win.

The Michigan crowd at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor chanted, "Kill, Jack, Kill," for the second time in as many nights. For the second time in as many nights, Jack killed.

With a pair of goals, and two assists to boot, Jack Johnson pushed his point total to eight for the weekend while guiding the No. 11-ranked Michigan ice hockey past the Ferris State Bulldogs 6-2 on Saturday night.

"I just kept firing. The past 10 games or so, they weren't going in for me," Johnson said. "I had the mentality to keep shooting, and eventually one of them will go in. I kind of made a living off of great passes from Andrew (Cogliano) and Matt (Hunwick) this weekend. I started to get the bounces going my way."

Despite Johnson's offensive outburst, it was defenseman Matt Hunwick that put the Wolverines on top. Just moments after being shutout on their first power play, the Michigan captain pinched in from the left point before the Bulldogs fifth skater could get back into his defensive zone. Brandon Naurato found Hunwick with a pass from off the right post and Hunwick quickly snapped the puck past Ferris State goalie Mitch O'Keefe for the first goal of the game.

"I can't tell you it is by design, but I can tell you that these teams collapse (in the defensive zone). If you watch Ferris and their defensive zone coverage, they have five guys below the harsh marks more often than not. So your defense could be open," Michigan coach Red Berenson said.

After battling back and forth for the remainder of the period, Michigan center Andrew Cogliano made it 2-0 with under a minute to go in the period. With the puck along his own blue line, Johnson fired a pass down ice to winger Chad Kolarik. Kolarik tipped the puck into the Ferris State zone to Cogliano, streaking in along the right side. All by himself, Cogliano quickly snapped the puck over O'Keefe's glove with 35 seconds left on the first period clock.

Ferris State trimmed the lead to one goal just 36 seconds into the second period. FSU's Matt Verdone picked up a loose puck behind the Wolverines right post. With the Michigan defense clamping down on him, Verdone dished the puck to teammate Mark Bomersback in the slot. Bomersback pushed the puck past Michigan goalie Billy Sauer for the Bulldogs first goal of the night.

Just as the Bulldogs drew within scoring distance, however, Johnson dealt the Bulldogs another blow. 1:30 after the Ferris State goal, Johnson's slap shot from between the circles flew past O'Keefe's glove after a shot from Danny Fardig created a rebound opportunity.

Brian Lebler put the game out of reach with his seventh goal of the season near the middle point of the frame. Carrying the puck into the zone along the right side, Cogliano sent a cross-ice feed to Chad Kolarik. A sprawled out Ferris State defenseman got a stick on the puck, but Lebler, trailing on the play, pounced on the loose puck and threw it into the FSU net.

Two minutes later Travis Turnball scored the Wolverines final goal of the period. Jack Johnson set up Brandon Naurato for a one-timer on the power play, and Naurato's shot bounced off O'Keefe's right leg pad, off Turnball's skate and into the net.

Michigan led 5-1 after 40 minutes.

Ferris State picked up a power-play goal with 12:24 left on the clock in the third period, but Johnson delivered the final blow with a 5-on-3 goal in the final two minutes of the game to end the nights scoring.

With the weekend sweep, the Wolverines pulled within four points of conference leading Notre Dame and one point from the second place Miami RedHawks. The Wolverines next return to the ice on Friday night at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich., for the first game of a home-and-home series with the Western Michigan Broncos next weekend.


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