- Patrick Barron/Daily
By Matt Slovin, Managing Editor
Published March 2, 2013
On their senior night, forwards Kevin Lynch and A.J. Treais helped make sure Saturday night’s game at Yost Ice Arena wouldn’t be their last.
More like this
But it was a freshman, goalie Steve Racine, who was the driving force behind the 2-1 shootout win over Ferris State.
“All year we have been complaining about goals against and our goalies,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “I think it is pretty clear tonight that our goalie won us the game -- he was the difference in the game.”
His 24 saves, including one on a breakaway in the closing seconds of overtime that could’ve sent Michigan on the road, capped off a weekend in which almost everything went the Wolverines’ way.
With the points, Michigan earned the CCHA’s seventh seed for the playoffs and will host Northern Michigan next weekend.
“It was a very special night for seniors, but it was also a special night for our team,” Lynch said. “We got momentum towards the CCHA Tournament. Playing at home is huge in the first round.”
To earn the extra weekend at Yost Ice Arena, Michigan needed to shut down the Bulldogs’ power play, ranked first in the conference. Racine seized the early momentum by making three key saves after sophomore forward Alex Guptill was sent to the penalty box in the game’s first minute. Racine, who was dominant all weekend, recorded 24 saves in the shootout win.
Michigan remained on its heels for much of the opening few minutes, surrendering the first four shots. But the Ferris State offense fell silent after the early pressure, and it was the Wolverines who struck first.
On its first power play of the night, Michigan used a massive keep in by Guptill, who gave it to freshman forward Andrew Copp, who in turn sailed a beautiful pass to Lynch for the game’s first goal. His wrister from the slot beat Ferris State goalie CJ Motte high on the glove side at the 7:59 mark of the first period.
After a long scoring drought, Ferris State tied the game at one when Zach Dorer scored his first-career goal that deflected off Michigan sophomore defenseman Mike Szuma past Racine.
Later in the frame, the referees took a lengthy review to determine that the line of Copp, junior Derek DeBlois and freshman Justin Selman didn’t push the puck past the goal line on an odd-man rush that led to a scrum in front of the Bulldog goal.
Midway through the third period, it was the Bulldogs’ turn to narrowly miss the go-ahead goal as, in a span of less than one minute, Travis Ouelette missed on a breakaway and then blocked his own teammate’s shot that easily would’ve found twine.
Regulation ended with the teams deadlocked, locking up a home series for Michigan.
During overtime, the Bulldogs pulled their goalie in a desperate attempt at gaining home-ice advantage in the first round themselves. But when Ouelette missed on a breakaway with the seconds ticking away, Ferris State’s fate — playing at Ohio State — was sealed, as was Michigan’s.
In the shootout, Treais scored on the first attempt, and it held up as the winner as Racine slammed the door shut.
“The last couple of months I have been working very hard in practice, trying to get better,” Racine said. “I was playing a lot in the beginning of the year, and when that goes away, you notice you may have taken it for granted a little bit. So, I just tried to work harder and get in there and make the most of my opportunity.”