Icer's Claim CCHA Regular Season Title

No. 1 Michigan clinched the CCHA regular season title with a win over Ferris State on Friday night. Michigan got goals from Brandon Naurato, Brian Lebler, Kevin Porter, Max Pacioretty and Louie Caporusso in the 5-3 Michigan win. Tomorrow night the teams meet again, this time in Big Rapids, Mich.

ANN ARBOR – Conference coaches picked Michigan to finish fourth in the CCHA at the annual CCHA media luncheon that takes place at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit each September. Instead the Wolverines went out and won the whole darn thing.

Getting contributions from unlikely sources, and fittingly going ahead for good on a Kevin Porter goal, the top-ranked Wolverines skated to a 5-3 win over the visiting Ferris State Bulldogs on Senior Night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. The win boosts the Wolverines conference point tally to 44, clinching conference regular season title.

"Looking at the season in perspective, no one thought that Michigan would be a first place team," said Michigan Coach Red Berenson. "And it is not like the other teams have had bad years. Notre Dame, Michigan State and Miami are all powerhouse teams, but this young team has found a way to win games night after night, home and away, close games, games that we played really well, games that we didn't play so well. It is a tribute to those guys in the locker room, the captains, the defensemen, the goalies, and all the freshmen and how well they played. It has been a total team effort."

After a scoreless first period, a pair of rare contributors helped Michigan emerge with leads of both 1-0 and 2-1. Brandon Naurato and Brian Lebler, wingers who have combined for seven goals on the season, each netted markers to ensure that Senior Night was a night that never saw the Maize and Blue trailing.

Naurato made it 1-0 with a slap shot just 3:20 into the second. Naurato took a feed from Mark Mitera and ripped a shot towards the near post. Ferris State goalie Pat Nagle got his body on the puck, but the momentum from the hard shot allowed it to trickle off the goalie with just enough speed to light the lamp and ignite the Michigan offense.

Lebler made it 2-1 just 21 seconds after the visiting Bulldogs tied the score at 1-1 by grabbing his own rebound and flipping it up into the open net.

The Bulldogs answered to tie the score with their second power-play goal of the period at 11:43. Blair Riley beat Michigan goalie Billy Sauer on a shot from high between the circles. Sauer was screened on the play, and the shooting lane opened for Riley after Michigan center Danny Fardig went down to block a potential shot and slid into fellow forward Carl Hagelin taking them both out of the play.

. Porter, who now has a team high 26 goal's, then added the go-ahead goal while Michigan had the power play in the final minutes of the period. Porter pinched in from the right point as Palushaj drew the defense to the left side of the ice. Palushaj found him with a backhand and Porter one-timed it into the net as the Wolverines went on top for good.

"You couldn't ask for a better senior night. I thought we started off slowly. But as the game went on we picked it up and played well. At the end we gave up three power-play goals, but I thought it was a good game," said Porter who finished with both a goal and an assist.

Max Pacioretty added what would eventually turn into the game-winner just 15 seconds into the final period. Pacioretty took a feed at the Wolverines blue line and took it coast-to-coast along the left boards. Angling in Pacioretty snapped it into the near side of the net catching Nagle leaning toward the centering pass.

Louie Caporusso then made it 5-2 with a redirection goal just less than three minutes later.

Ferris State added a third power-play goal in the third period, but that was all the scoring they would get as the Wolverines held on for the 5-3 win.

Michigan concludes the regular season with a 7:05 weekend finale against the Bulldogs in Big Rapids, Mich.


The Michigan Insider Top Stories