- Patrick Barron/Daily
By Greg Garno, Daily Sports Writer
Published November 2, 2013
Time and time again, Michigan coach Red Berenson has said goals are at a premium in any given game.
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But against Michigan Tech on Saturday, penalty minutes were provided, free of charge, and the No. 4 Michigan hockey team took advantage by way of an early goal.
The Huskies (1-6-1) were called for 10 penalty minutes, leaving the Wolverines (6-1-1) with ample time in the opposing zone to set up chances en route to a 2-1 victory.
“We got some good momentum from our power play,” Berenson said. “I thought we played better with the puck than we did last night all around.
“I liked the way our team competed. I thought tonight was a better team effort than last night.”
Sophomore forwards Andrew Copp and Justin Selman both scored for the Wolverines in Michigan Tech’s first visit to Yost Ice Arena since 1984. With the win, Michigan recorded its first regular-season home sweep since Feb. 17-18, 2012, against Northern Michigan.
Playing in his first game since Oct. 18 against New Hampshire and only his second this season, Selman received the puck in the left circle from freshman defenseman Michael Downing, firing an awkward-angle shot past Michigan Tech goaltender Pheonix Copley for the go-ahead goal.
“I mean, obviously a goal is always nice, but I’m just glad we got the win,” Selman said.
Three late Michigan Tech penalties in the first period allowed Michigan to set up in the opposing zone, but, more importantly, hold the Huskies to just six shots in the opening stanza. After Saturday, Michigan Tech continued to lead the nation with 214 penalty minutes this season.
With four forwards on the ice during an extra-man opportunity, Copp wove the puck through traffic to the left circle, where his shot from the faceoff spot proved too much for Copley to handle. Copp’s fourth goal of the season tied him for the team lead, one night after he scored the game-winner in overtime.
The Wolverines also drew a number of penalties themselves — 12 altogether — including two in the second period that slowed down play for both teams and a late call on junior forward Zach Hyman in the third period.
“That gave us momentum going into the third (period),” Selman said. “It just gave us energy throughout the whole game.”
Freshman goaltender Zach Nagelvoort surely appreciated the slow play, though. After he faced 36 shots the previous night, Nagelvoort stopped just 29 on Saturday — his fourth win in place of sophomore Steve Racine.
“Our overall defense, they hung in there and they battled,” Berenson said. “The goals against is (on) the goalie, but it’s also on the defensemen, too.”
Michigan’s victory was even more impressive without freshman defenseman Kevin Lohan, who is out for at least the next three months with a lower-body injury that he suffered in Friday night’s game.
“Obviously it’s never good to be missing a guy like Lohan … but I thought (the defense) did a really good job,” Nagelvoort said. “They let me see pretty much anything that was in front of me. There was only two or three times where (Michigan Tech) had a chance to tip in any kind of shots.”
The Huskies tallied a late goal midway through the third period, nearly completing the comeback when they finally managed to limit their penalties. Forward Dennis Rix slapped one past Nagelvoort when he found the puck near the slot. A late penalty and a 6-on-4 advantage were not enough to force a second straight overtime, though.
The loss spoiled former Michigan assistant coach and current Michigan Tech head coach Mel Pearson’s return to Ann Arbor. Pearson served as an assistant coach for 23 years under Berenson, helping to lead the Wolverines to 11 Frozen Fours.
“Yost is a place I love,” Pearson said. “I know it’s a hard place to play, and a hard place to win at, but it’s a great experience for our players to come here.
“I’ve got a lot of fond memories here, and I just love Michigan, coach Berenson and Michigan hockey.”
Friday night: Andrew Copp played hero in the weekend opener, scoring the game-winner in overtime after the Huskies came back from a two-goal deficit.
Copp took the puck across the center line before he wound up near the top of circle and fired a shot that was too quick for the glove of Copley.
Junior forward Phil Di Giuseppe scored his third goal of the season and added an assist, while senior forward Luke Moffatt tallied a goal of his own.