Icers Improve to 10-1-0; Sink LSSU Lakers

No. 1 Michigan is back on the road for two games against the Lake Superior State Lakers this weekend. After falling behind 1-0 through the first 20 minutes of play, the Wolverines answered with five straight goals over the final two periods to improve to 10-1-0 on the season.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- For the first time since the end of the 1996-97 hockey season, the Wolverines held serve with their No. 1 ranking. After climbing to the top of the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Division One Men's Poll earlier in the week, the top-ranked icers opened a weekend series with the Lake Superior State Lakers with a 5-1 win on Friday night at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Trailing 1-0 through the first 20 minutes of play, it was a scoring outburst over the final two periods, combined with a masterpiece between the pipes from junior goalie Billy Sauer, that set the pace as the Wolverines improved to 10-1-0 on the season.

"Any time you win on the road it's a good win. This was not an easy game. Obviously, we got down 1-0 in the first period. We did not have a particularly good first period and Lake State had the momentum," Michigan coach Red Berenson said.

"In second period we got a couple of lucky breaks, I thought. We took advantage of our chances. They had some pretty good chances that they didn't capitalize on. Max's (Pacioretty) goal was a big goal -- a great play by (Mark) Mitera. (Kevin) Porter's goal was an important goal, obviously."

Pacioretty's goal tied the game 1-1 just 4:12 into the second period. Just out of the slot, Pacioretty redirected a feed from defenseman Mark Mitera behind LSSU goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson.

"They took it to us in the first and probably out-hit us pretty badly, so we wanted to play the body and get a quick goal," Michigan captain Kevin Porter, who also recorded an assist on the play, said. "It was huge coming out and scoring a quick goal like that. It got our momentum going."

Just 2:07 later, it was 2-1 Michigan on the first of two goals Porter would score over the final 40 minutes. Crashing the goal on a Pacioretty shot, Porter flipped the puck into the top of the net for what would eventually be the game-winning goal.

"(Kevin) Porter's line was a big factor in the game. When it comes right down to it, they capitalized on some key goals," Berenson said.

Travis Turnbull added a breakaway goal before the end of the period.

Both sides registered nine shots in the second period, but after beating Michigan goalie Billy Sauer in the first period, the Lakers couldn't solve the Michigan goalie for the remainder of the night. Sauer turned aside 24 of 25 shots to lower his goals against average to 2.09 on the season.

Porter added his second goal of the night while skating with a power play in the third period, and freshman Aaron Palushaj buried a breakaway with eight minutes left in the contest to secure the 5-1 Michigan win.

Game two of the weekend series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. With a win, the No. 1-ranked Wolverines will be off to their first 11-1-0 start since skating with a senior by the name of Red Berenson.

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