Ice Hockey: Offense guides U-M past WMU

Michigan's Hobey Baker Award candidate, T.J. Hensick, guided the No. 10-ranked Michigan ice hockey team past the Western Michigan Broncos with both a pair of goals and assists in a 7-4 Michigan win on Friday night. With five straight wins now in the books, the Wolverines look for their third straight weekend sweep on Senior Night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor on Saturday night.

Senior center T.J. Hensick climbed to the top of CSTV's Hobey Baker Award watch list earlier this week. Tonight he did nothing to hurt his chances with a pair of both goals and assists in a 7-4 Michigan win over the Western Michigan Broncos. Jack Johnson also contributed a pair of points, including the game winning goal.

Michigan went up 1-0 early after a quick whistle put the home team on the penalty kill early in the game. Carrying the puck into the Western Michigan zone, Michigan forward Kevin Porter found Andrew Cogliano in front of the net for the one-timer goal. The power-play goal pushed Cogliano's point streak to 11 games since returning from the World Junior Championships.

Minutes later, however, WMU tied it 1-1 with a special team's goal of its own. Skating shorthanded again, Western Michigan's Mark Letestu picked up a loose puck near his own blue line and created his own scoring chance. Skating in on the right side, Letestu fired the puck through the five-hole of Michigan goalie Billy Sauer.

Hensick picked up his first point of the night on the Wolverines second go-ahead goal at 8:56. Hensick fired a pass to line mate Travis Turnball near the Broncos blue line, and Turnball carried the puck into the Broncos zone and slid the puck past goalie Daniel Bellissimo.

As was the case before, though, the Broncos fought back. With under a minute left in the opening period, the Broncos tied it with their first power-play goal of the night. Paul Szczechura redirected a pass behind Sauer to make it 2-2 after the first 20 minutes.

Michigan took control for good in the middle of the second. After killing off a 5-on-3 advantage, the Wolverines threw three shots past Bellissimo in the final 10 minutes of the second to put the game out of reach.

Brandon Naurato made it 3-2 Michigan with the Wolverines second power-play goal of the night on a blast from the right circle. Naurato picked up a loose puck after a shot from the point didn't make it all the way to the net.

Hensick doubled the lead with his first of two goals on the night 1:59 later. Hensick took a pass and blazed through the Broncos defense to create the scoring chance.

Jack Johnson then scored the eventual game winner, again on the power play, with a blast from the point with 44 seconds remaining in the second period.

Western Michigan trimmed into the lead five minutes into the final period. Paul Szczechura scored his second goal of the night by flinging a rebound past Sauer while the Broncos were skating with a two-man advantage.

Hensick then added his second goal of the night with 4:14 left on the clock. Western matched the Hensick goal a minute later, but U-M alternate captain Jason Dest added an empty net goal on the penalty kill to put away the 7-4 Michigan win.

With the win, the Wolverines remind four points behind Notre Dame in the CCHA standings with seven regular season games to play. The No. 10 Wolverines next hit the ice on Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor for Senior Night. Scheduled start time is 7:35 pm.

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