FORT WAYNE, Ind. – What once seemed impossible is now just a single win away.
Behind two goals and an assist from Carl Hagelin, plus 26 saves by goalie Shawn Hunwick, the Michigan hockey team downed Bemidji State 5-1 at the War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., to move just one win away from the Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit in early April.
At the 12:24 mark of the third period Hagelin scored his first goal, a 2-on-1 rush with Kevin Lynch that saw the Wolverines sensational Swede tapping the puck into an open net, to squash any momentum that the Beavers generated following a goal at 10:24 to trim Michigan's lead to just a goal.
"It was a tough line change," said Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore. "You give Michigan an inch, and they take a mile. We just had a bad line change. It was a slow line change, and there's a two on one. That's tough, and they took advantage of that."
Just minutes later, while the Wolverines were on the on the penalty kill, Hagelin added his second, this one a dagger with just 3:57 left on the clock. Matt Rust's backhand pass out of the zone sprung Hagelin on the break, and Hagelin crossed BSU goalie Dan Bakala over before slipping the puck between his pads and into the Beavers net.
AP Photo/Tim Strattman
Carl Hagelin scores a shorthanded goal
"Every time we had a breakdown they took advantage of the opportunity. That is the sign of a great hockey team. I'm proud of our guys; I thought they fought until the bitter end. Michigan's the hottest team in the country, and it might be the best team in the country right now."
With 1:58 remaining Brian Lebler added an empty net goal for the Wolverines to cement the U-M win.
"It was a hard fought game," Michigan coach Red Berenson continued. "I don't think it was a 5-1 game, but they were always in the game when you think about it. They scored a goal to get back in it and really the momentum was about to change, and then Carl (Hagelin) scored his goal. It was an important comeback goal to keep the momentum on our side. Our penalty killing and goal keeping had to be solid; I thought it was a good team effort."
In the first period Luke Glendening put Michigan on top just seconds after the Beavers had killed the first Michigan power play. Glendening, in front of the Bemidji State goal, got a stick on a blue line shot and tipped it into the net just 6:15 into the contest. With just 38 seconds left in the second period junior Louie Caporusso made it 2-0 Michigan with a 4-on-3 power-play goal from the right circle.
AP Photo/Tim Strattman
Brandon Burlon tripped in the second period
"We just tried to get the puck moving around on the 4-on-3," Caporusso said. "Brownie (Chris Brown) happened to see the seam that was open to me, and it just went in. It was kind of a scramble play."
Ian Lowe cut the lead to 2-1 with 9:36 left on Bemidji State's only marker of the contest, a power-play goal from the right circle on a quick one-timer.
With the win the Wolverines set up a rematch of their 5-2 win over the Miami RedHawks in the CCHA Tournament semifinal's. Miami, the NCAA Tournament's No. 1-overall seed, advanced to the second round with a 2-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville in the early game of the Midwest Regional.
Start time is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.
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