Ice Hockey: Hensick nets a pair in win

After being held off the win column in its last three contests, the No. 10-ranked Michigan ice hockey team got back on track with a 3-1 win over Lake Superior State on Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Hobey Baker Award candidate T.J. Hensick tallied a pair of goals for the Maize and Blue and Billy Sauer made 35 saves in the Michigan goal.

With just three games left in the Wolverines regular season, it's that time of year when each game means a little something extra. A three-game winless streak has moved Red Berenson and his Michigan ice hockey team squarely on the NCAA bubble, but the team rallied behind a pair of goals from alternate captain T.J. Hensick and a 35 save outing from sophomore goalie Billy Sauer to dispatch of the Lake Superior State Lakers on Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

"We were a desperate team, especially after last weekend and Friday night," said Michigan captain Matt Hunwick, the scorer of the Wolverines game winning goal this afternoon. "We had to come back with a lot better game tonight. I'm not sure if we were that much better, but we were a little bit better. We got the win, which is the most important thing right now."

For the second time of the weekend, the Wolverines struck first. 8:16 into the first period, Hobey Baker Award candidate T.J. Hensick put Michigan on top 1-0 with his 15th goal of the season. Camped out in front of the LSSU net, Hensick swatted a puck out of midair on the rebound from Matt Hunwick's shot from the point.

"Our best players were our best players, when T.J. (Hensick) steps up and makes a great individual effort on the first goal and battles hard on the other one," Berenson said.

Lake Superior went on the offensive with a pair of power plays shortly after, but Sauer kept the Lakers off the board with a quick glove save and the help of his crossbar.

Michigan took advantage of its first power play just 2:40 into the second period. Matt Hunwick fired the puck past LSSU goalie Jeff Jakaitis pinching in from the point and taking a pass from Andrew Cogliano to make it 2-0.

"When (Andrew) Cogliano goes wide on the puck with that kind of speed, and (Matt) Hunwick uses his speed, there's no one that can catch them," Berenson said. "I wish we'd do that more. We're trying to do it more, but that was a good example of a couple of good plays that ended with the puck in the net. The game took a real turn in our favor."

Four minutes later, Hensick netted his second goal of the game to push it to a 3-0 lead. Hensick took a feed from Jack Johnson while slipping behind the Lakers blue liners. After fighting off a defender on his pack, Hensick slipped the puck past Jakaitis to put the game out of reach at 6:43 of the second period.

Lake Superior finished the period with a flurry of power play opportunities, but Sauer continued his bid for the shutout by keeping the Lakers 0-for-6 on the power play through the second period.

Dan Eves beat Sauer to end the shutout with a shot over his shoulder into the top shelf of the net midway through the period, but Michigan's sophomore goalie stone walled a breakaway less than a minute later to keep the game out of reach.

"After they got that goal and (Sellers) got a breakaway right after, that was probably one of the biggest plays of the day just because we've got to keep them off the board, especially when it's 3-1," Sauer said. "The next goal is huge for them, so I tried to keep the puck out of the net."

With the win, Michigan climbed to second place in the CCHA standings with just two games to go. The Wolverines conclude the regular season with a pair of games in Columbus, Ohio against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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