OMAHA – After a sloppy start, Michigan scored five goals in the third period to defeat Nebraska-Omaha 6-3 in the first game of this weekend’s series at the Qwest Center.
Freshman Louie Caporusso, who before this weekend was tied for second on the team in points, was a scratch for Friday’s game. Caporusso missed a team event last night, and Michigan coach Red Berenson called missing the event a “misunderstanding”.
Michigan scored its first goal 4:30 into the first period and ten seconds into its first power play of the game. Senior Chad Kolarik faked out a Maverick defender and passed across the net to captain Kevin Porter, who shot back door to push the Wolverines ahead early. The goal was Porter’s fifth of the season and marked the fifth straight game where Michigan has scored a power-play goal.
Nebraska-Omaha tied the game with 12:30 left in the second period on a slow, low shot that went between Michigan goalie Billy Sauer’s legs for the goal.
Freshman Max Pacioretty got into his first fight, and though Nebraska-Omaha received the 10-minute major for instigation, the Wolverines continued to dole out hits and draw dirty penalties. The teams combined for 15 penalties in the period.
With 6:18 left in the second period, junior defenseman Mark Mitera went to the box for roughing. Eighteen seconds later, the Mavericks stole the puck from the Wolverines’ defense deep in the Michigan zone and scored off a rebound on Sauer’s right side. Mitera was back in the box for cross-checking on his next shift, a penalty that solidified Nebraska-Omaha’s second-period momentum and signaled the Wolverines were losing their composure.
In addition to allowing two goals, the Wolverines were outshot 13-7 in the period.
The first half of the third period was marked by quick goals from both sides. The Wolverines started their comeback on the first shift of the third period on another power-play goal from Porter, this one on a slapshot at the point just 35 seconds in.
Less than three minutes later, senior Chad Kolarik took the puck up the left side to the goal to give Michigan a 3-2 lead.
But 4:09 into the third, Nebraska-Omaha retaliated with a slapshot and shot off the rebound that dribbled past Sauer for a goal, retying the game at 3.
The back-and-forth shuffle ended with sophomore defenseman Steve Kampfer’s goal 7:24 into the third that gave the Wolverines the lead for good.
And Porter sealed his hat trick with a little less than 7 minutes remaining after taking a pass from Mitera behind the Michigan net and taking the puck to the goal.
Sophomore Brian Lebler added an empty-netter with 12.5 seconds remaining.
The Wolverines and Mavericks play again tomorrow night. Keep reading “The Game” for live updates during Saturday’s game.