U-M Icers Win 3-1; On to CCHA Title Game

The No. 3-ranked Michigan ice hockey team continued its second half of the year dominance with a 3-1 win over the Alaska Nanooks on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Michigan goals came from Chad Langlais, Louie Caporusso and Aaron Palushaj in a hard-fought 3-1 win over Alaska.

DETROIT -- The No. 3 Michigan hockey team built leads of 1-0 and 2-1, plus added an empty net goal late, Friday night as the Maize and Blue downed the Alaska Nanooks 3-1 to advance to the CCHA Championship Game for the third consecutive season.

The second-seeded Wolverines received goals from defenseman Chad Langlais, Hobey Baker finalist Louie Caporusso and Aaron Palushaj. In goal, Bryan Hogan, who improved to 24-4-0 on the season, turned aside 25-of-26 Nanooks' shots.

Caporusso's marker, a backdoor tap in off a flawless cross-ice Steve Kampfer feed, with 4:11 left in the second period wound up the game-winner. Palushaj's empty net goal with 2:04 left provided Michigan with insurance.

"We knew Alaska was on a roll and they've had a terrific season. They've been a very stingy team. We're supposed to be able to score, but obviously, there wasn't much to choose from tonight," Michigan coach Red Berenson said.

"I thought Louie Caporusso's goal was a huge goal, because goals were really precious in the game. The game didn't seem to have a lot of flow, but still, they got their chances, and I thought Brian Hogan was the difference in the game for us."

Late in the first period it was Michigan that struck first to jump on top 1-0 with a Chad Langlais power-play goal. Tim Miller sent a pass from the right corner to Langlais, pinching in from the left point, for an easy redirection past the Alaska goalie, Chad Johnson, and into the net.

The Nanooks evened the score 1-1 with 6:25 left in the second period. On the power play and controlling the puck in the Michigan zone, a Joe Sova shot from the blue line was redirected past Hogan by Braden Walls between the face off circles.

Caporusso put Michigan on top for good just 2:14 later.

"I got some good bounces today and it worked out pretty well," he said.

The 3-1 win improves the Wolverines record at Joe Louis Arena to 9-0-0 over the past two years. The team will now take on No. 2-ranked Notre Dame in the conference championship game on Saturday night. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7:35.

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