Michigan Icers Make Claim for #1 Ranking

The No. 2-ranked Wolverines entered the weekend with a six game win streak. Saturday night it was extended to eight as the Wolverines brushed aside the Alaska Nanooks for the second straight night, this time 4-2, to complete a weekend sweep at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.

ANN ARBOR -- Behind a pair of goals from senior Chad Kolarik, and 18 saves in goal from Billy Sauer, the No. 2-ranked Wolverines improved to 9-1-0 on the season, and climbed to the top of the CCHA standings, with a 4-2 win over the Alaska Nanooks on Saturday night Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.

The win is the Wolverines eighth in a row. Michigan hasn't lost since dropping a tight 4-3 decision to the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Ice Breaker Invitational in the first week of the college hockey season.

"We had a good weekend as a team, but we have to play better," Michigan's 24th year coach Berenson said. "I never get too carried away with winning and I try to not get too far down when we lose, but I'm always trying to get better.

"With a young team, you know what it's like. I'm really impressed with the consistency of this team at this point. I like the leadership, I like the mindset, and right now there's good spirit on this team and those are good things to build on."

This weekend it was the upperclassmen who led.

In the first period, Kolarik put the Wolverines on top 1-0 for the second straight night.

With the puck in the corner, freshman wing Max Pacioretty found Kolarik in front of the Alaska goal. After taking the pass, Kolarik found open space in the Nanooks net as his backhand shot fluttered over the shoulder of Alaska goalie Wylie Rogers and into the Alaska net at 4:57 of the first period.

Before the end of the period, it was 2-0.

"I like the fact that we got the early lead, and we got a little bit of a cushion. We do not like to give up unearned goals, but we have to give Alaska credit -- they stayed in the game," Berenson said.

"We got the lead and held the lead, but the game got a little sloppy. I did not like the way we were playing, but sometimes you play at a level that you cannot change. We were working hard, but there was not a lot happening on the ice."

Naurato's first goal of the season, a power-play goal while crashing the left post, provided the Maize and Blue with their early cushion.

Kolarik made it 3-0 with his second goal of the night just over one minute into the second period. Skating with a man advantage again, Kolarik took the puck between the circles and snapped a shot past the glove side of Rogers.

Alaska later scored its first goal of the weekend with just 1:10 left in the second frame. After Dion Knelson and the Nanooks created a turnover in the neutral zone, Knelson carried the puck in and then snapped a shot past goalie Billy Sauer to make the new score 3-1.

Aaron Palushaj added his third goal of the season, and his second of the weekend, in the third period.

Before allowing the first Nanooks goal with 1:10 left in the second period, goalie Billy Sauer had set a new personal best going 128:30 without allowing a goal since last Saturday nights game against Nebraska-Omaha.

Alaska added one more goal while skating with a 4-on-3 power play advantage.

Michigan returns to the road next season for a pair of CCHA games against the Lake Superior State Lakers. Face-off on Friday nights game in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.

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