Back to Joe Louis!

The Michigan ice hockey team advanced to the CCHA semifinal with a 2-1 win over the visiting Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks on Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. Michigan received goals from Brandon Naurato and Carl Hagelin. Michigan goalie Billy Sauer recorded 26 saves. Michigan will play in the 8:30 game on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

ANN ARBOR -- The top-ranked Michigan ice hockey team is going to Joe Louis Arena for the 19th straight time after sweeping the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in the quarterfinal round of the CCHA Tournament with a 2-1 win over the visiting Mavericks on Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.

The Wolverines jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead through the first 20 minutes, but penalties and a stiff Mavericks defense slowed the Maize and Blue attack over the final two periods as Michigan struggled to hold on in a 2-1 win that saw the Wolverines amass 27 penalty minutes.

"We knew that the first goal would be important and to get a two-goal lead was important. But they never gave up," Red Berenson said. "They came back and played with a lot more bite in their game, and they had us on our heels. Obviously the penalties changed the whole momentum. We killed four penalties in the first 11 minutes in the second period. We were playing in our own zone. We are lucky we escaped. But, nevertheless, we knew it would be a different game, and we knew (Nebraska-Omaha) would come out and play better. You knew that we may not play as well (as we did last night), and that is pretty much what you saw."

Like last night, the Wolverines jumped on top early. Coming off of Brandon Naurato's stick for the second straight night, Michigan took a 1-0 lead 3:14 into the contest. An ill-advised pinch from a Mavericks defenseman left Naurato skating in alone on goalie Jerad Kaufmann, and Naurato snapped it into the top right part of the net to give Michigan an edge on the scoreboard.

Michigan continued to pepper the Mavericks net minder over the rest of the period, but not until Carl Hagelin scored with 1:03 left in the period did Michigan extend the lead with the eventual game-winning goal.

Hagelin scored on a two-on-two rush with winger Tim Miller. His second goal of the weekend, Hagelin circled around the Mavericks defense to set up a backhand shot into the near side of the net and give Michigan a 2-0 lead.

Nebraska-Omaha's Mick Lawrence had the Mavericks first legitimate threat with a breakaway just 1:30 into the second period, but Billy Sauer turned the shot aside to maintain the two-goal lead.

Four minutes later the Mavericks succeeded in cutting the lead in half with a power-play goal on a two-on-one rush, but that was all the Mavericks would get.

The teams exchanged blows near the middle of the second period, literally, resulting in six penalties and two game disqualifications, including one to Max Pacioretty who must now sit out the Wolverines CCHA semifinal round, but neither team was able to capitalize on the additional spark as the score remained 2-1 through the remainder of the contest.

With the win, the Wolverines advance to the CCHA semifinal round at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Saturday night. Tickets will be available through the Joe Louis Arena box office or by calling 734-764-0247. The No. 1-seeded Wolverines will skate against the lowest remaining seed between No. 6 Northern Michigan, No. 5 Ferris State or No. 4 Notre Dame.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories