December 3, 2011 - 1:29am
BY MATT SLOVIN AND ZACH HELFAND
FAIRBANKS — The Michigan hockey team spent its first days in Alaska as tourists. But after ample time for sightseeing and exploring, the Wolverines' focus now turns to the task at hand — ending the program's longest winless streak since 1999.
This week, Michigan coach Red Berenson stressed the importance of limiting defensive mistakes. The team on the other side of the ice commits very few of its own. Alaska (Fairbanks) is regarded as one of the best defensive teams in the CCHA, but the Nanooks have had issues scoring, averaging about two goals per game.
Berenson continues to tinker with the lineups again this evening as he tries to get his team back on track before it's too late. Despite the hostile environment, a series against one of the two teams that trails the Wolverines in the conference standings would seem the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Follow along as we bring you all of the action from the Carlson Center, near the campus of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The temperatures are in the single digits outside, but in the arena things are starting to heat up.
FIRST PERIOD SUMMARY
Michigan jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game on a goal by junior forward A.J. Treais. Michigan’s defense kept Alaska (Fairbanks) away from the cage for most of the period, but again, mistakes cost them. A turnover in the neutral zone lead to a penalty on Chris Brown, who served two minutes for boarding. The Wolverines killed off the penalty, but before Brown could get back on defense, Cody Kunyk fired a slap shot past fifth-year goalie Shawn Hunwick to even the score heading into intermission.
SECOND PERIOD SUMMARY
A timely penalty kill paved the way for the Nanooks to open the second frame in the black. With the momentum squarely on the side after the Wolverines failed to convert on the power play, Alaska needed all of seven seconds to notch two go-ahead goals. Michigan would retaliate, however, a few minutes later when Lee Moffie ripped a slapshot past Alaska netminder Scott Greenham, making it 3-2 Nanooks. Serville was credited with his second assist of the night. After a Derek DeBlois penalty for tripping, it was the Michigan penalty kill’s turn to step up. The Wolverines answered the call led by stellar glove work from Hunwick. Michigan was assessed another penalty and again had to play down a man, which it did successfully. Alaska was penalized for too many men on the ice and the Wolverines ended the period on the power play and with the momentum.
THIRD PERIOD SUMMARY
Another Michigan penalty led to a goal early in the third period. After freshman forward Travis Lynch picked up a holding penalty, the Wolverines successfully killed the penalty, but again, they surrendered a goal just seconds later. Alaska’s Colton Beck put one past Hunwick to give the Nanook’s a 4-2 advantage. Michigan went on a power play of its own minutes later but couldn’t find the net. Senior forward David Wohlberg scored with 9:23 remaining to pull Michigan within one. Brown set up Wohlberg with a feed off a spinning deke. After a long scoring drought, Wohlberg has now scored goals in two games straight. Michigan peppered shots on the Alaska goal late in the game but couldn’t convert. Alaska took the opener 4-3.