Kolarik 4, Lake Superior State 2

No. 1 Michigan used a four-goal outburst from senior alternate captain Chad Kolarik to skate past the Lake Superior State Lakers on Friday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. Kolarik scored late in all three periods, plus early in the third to sink the Lakers. Michigan now holds a three-point edge over Miami in the conference standings with five games to play.

ANN ARBOR -- Michigan started slow, but it didn't matter. Senior Chad Kolarik out scored the entire Lake Superior State team, scoring all four Michigan goals, as the No. 1 Michigan ice hockey team skated to a 4-2 win over the visiting Lakers on Friday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.

Kolarik scored a goal late in each period, plus added one early in the third period to provide all the Maize and Blue offense in a win that provides Michigan with a small amount of breathing room ahead of No. 2 Miami in the conference standings.

Trailing 1-0 near the end of the first period, Kolarik netted his first marker as the Wolverines skated with a delayed penalty advantage. Just off the Michigan bench, Aaron Palushaj took a feed from defenseman Mark Mitera as he skated across the Lakers blue line. Unable to finish with a clean shot, Palushaj just threw the puck at Lakers goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson as he was hauled to the ice.

"It was a great pass from Mitera. I took the puck wide and was trying to protect it. Obviously I was trying to score, but obviously the goalie made a save. He (Chad) just followed it up and put it in."

The rebound popped out front to Kolarik, and the right wing lifted the puck into the net for what he described as the easiest goal of his career.

Kolarik then made it 2-1 Michigan near the same time of the second period. As the nation's leading scorer, Kevin Porter, controlled the puck deep in the Lakers zone for the Wolverines, Kolarik found himself open ice in the right face-off circle. Porter dished it to Kolarik, the first of Porter's three assists on the night, and Kolarik fired it home with 3:59 left in the period.

With just less than 15 minutes left on the clock in the third period, Kolarik completed the hat trick as the Lakers scrambled to recover from a 5-on-3 penalty kill that had expired just seconds before the Kolarik goal.

"The puck popped up and I just grabbed it off the glass. No one came at me, I think the guys were just coming out of the box, and I just threw it at the net. The goalies pads were open so I banked it off them into the net. I just got lucky," Kolarik said.

Lake Superior State drew within a goal with just under five minutes to play, but Kolarik then added an empty net goal to put the win on ice.

The Lakers opening goal of the contest came just 2:20 after the puck drop. Simon Gysbers beat Michigan goalie Billy Sauer with a shot from between the top of the circles. Sauer got his body on the puck, but the rubber trickled under his left arm and slowly crossed the goal line for the games opening goal.

"We were fortunate the puck went in for us," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "The power play was working for us, the penalty kill, but are we happy with our game? No.

"It's a fine line between being sharp and not sharp. Tonight we weren't sharp."

With the win, the Wolverines improve to 24-3-4 on the season and 17-2-4 in CCHA action. In Big Rapids, Mich., No. 2 Miami dropped a 6-5 upset decision to Ferris State to provide the Wolverines a three-point cushion in the conference standings with just five games to play.

Game two of the weekend series is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. on Saturday night. Fox Sports Net Detroit will provide live coverage of the action as the Wolverines look to complete their first sweep since taking a pair from Notre Dame in the middle of January.

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