DETROIT – Michigan came into its game against Miami as the underdog, but as soon as the teams hit the ice, the Wolverines proved that they were the top dog all night long, eventually downing the RedHawks, 5-1.
The two teams started the game with some bone-crushing hits and solid defense.
The Wolverines were able to find a seam when Tristin Llewellyn blasted a slap shot past the glove of Cody Reichard. Carl Hagelin and Matt Rust added the assists on the play.
Michigan continued to control the puck in the Miami zone. The Wolverines capitalized on their second goal after some good pressure in the neutral zone, forcing a turnover.
The Wolverines had a four-on-one break from the blue line. Steve Kampfer found A.J. Treais, and he made a quick pass to Lee Moffie who slipped the puck past Reichard for his fourth goal of the year.
The physical play continued through the second period, leading to a pair of penalties that forced four-on-four play for two minutes.
During the four-on-four, the Tommy Wingles picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and flew down the ice. Wingles toe-dragged around a diving Michigan defenseman and snapped a quick shot over Shawn Hunwick’s glove and into the back of the net to put Miami on the board with 3:05 to play in the second period.
“They’re a great team obviously and they’ve had a terrific season. If they get going, I don’t think anybody in our league can skate with them,” said Michigan head coach Red Berenson.
As if the Wolverines hadn’t made it clear that they were dominating the game, they put their stamp on the RedHawks during the third period.
Michigan’s Kevin Lynch got a pass from Hagelin and banged it home on the power play to give the Wolverines a 3-1 lead.
“I knew that they had one defenseman in front. I was trying to get it to Rust or Lynch. They were both doing a great job crashing the net,” said Hagelin.
Just under three minutes later, Brian Lebler re-directed a Matt Rust shot between the legs of Reichard.
And if that wasn’t enough, 1:43 later Lynch struck again as he knocked in a rebound off of a Hagelin shot to make the game 5-1.
“As the game went on I thought we got the breaks after that. Theyre a good team and Shawn [Hunwick] had to make some big saves and we made our chances count,” said Berenson.
Reichard was pulled in favor of Connor Knapp after allowing five goals on 23 shots through just over two periods of play.
Miami got a power play goal with 2:23 to play from Trent Vogelhuber but it was too little too late for the RedHawks.
“Full credit to Michigan, they deserved to win. They’re playing real well right now and they’re clicking on all cylinders,” said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi.
With the victory, Michigan will play Northern Michigan in the CCHA playoff championship game tomorrow at Joe Louis Arena. Miami will play Ferris State in the third place game.