DETROIT — If the Wolverines wanted a chance to prove that they
are the real top dogs in the CCHA, their wish has been granted.

Michigan has set up a date with regular season champion Ferris
State Saturday night for the Mason Cup, after defeating Ohio State
3-0 in the CCHA Super Six semifinals with help from a Dwight
Helminen hat trick. It was the first career three-goal performance
for the sophomore forward, who had not scored in six games at Joe
Louis Arena.

The Wolverines faceoff against the Bulldogs, who defeated
Northern Michigan 4-2 in the first Super Six semifinal, on Saturday
at 7:35 p.m. in a game that will be shown on Fox Sports Detroit on
tape delay at 10:30 p.m.

The first 28 minutes were scoreless until Eric Nystrom split
between two Buckeye defenders before dishing the puck off to
Helminen, who wristed a shot that goaltender Mike Betz was unable
to handle.

Helminen scored again less than three minutes later when he put
a J.J. Swistak rebound just past Betz’s left side. He then finished
off the hat trick in the third period on the penalty kill when he
skated through the middle of the zone and blasted a shot past
Betz’s glove, off the crossbar and into the net.

“It’s a great feeling,” Helminen said. “You don’t really expect
that going into a game.”

The Buckeyes littered numerous shots at goaltender Al Montoya,
outshooting the Wolverines 31-24, but the freshman held strong to
pick up his first shutout since Jan. 25, playing significantly
better than his last performance at the Joe three weeks ago against
Michigan State.

Michigan will now try to defend its Mason Cup title from last
season when it faces a Ferris State team that is making its first
ever appearance in the Super Six championship game. The
fourth-ranked Bulldogs have won 12 straight games after losing
against the Wolverines at Yost Ice Arena on Jan. 31. Ferris State
came out firing in both its meetings against Michigan, putting up
two- and four-goal leads in their two meetings, respectively. The
Bulldogs are led by Hobey Baker Award finalist Chris Kunitz, who
scored his 31st and 32nd goals of the season on Friday. The
Bulldogs also boast forward Jeff Legue, who ranks 13th in the
nation with a 1.42 points per game average, and six-time CCHA
Player of the Week goaltender Mike Brown.

“We’re going into the game as the visiting team and the
underdog, which is a little different from our role last year,”
Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. “We have something to prove,
and we’re trying to prove it.”

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