DETROIT – In a wild game where Michigan had almost twice as many shots as Northern Michigan (42-22) and the Wildcats had more than double the penalties (9-4), the Wolverines capitalized on “puck luck” when it counted to secure a 6-4 win and a spot in tomorrow’s CCHA championship game against Miami (Ohio).

Junior forward Tim Miller scored two of his four goals this season tonight. His other two goals of the season came against Michigan State, also at Joe Louis Arena, on Feb. 23.

Freshmen Scooter Vaughan and Matt Rust were both back in the lineup for the Wolverines after missing last weekend’s CCHA quarterfinal series against Nebraska-Omaha due to injury. Miller replaced freshman forward Max Pacioretty, who was suspended from tonight’s game after his role in last Saturday’s second-period brawl, on the first line with seniors Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik.

Michigan first scored seven minutes into the game on a picture-perfect wraparound goal by Kolarik. In a move similar to freshman Carl Hagelin’s game-winning goal in last Saturday’s game against the Mavericks, Kolarik skated around the net and dumped the puck past an unsuspecting Brian Stewart.

Throughout the first period, the Wolverines put constant pressure on the Wildcat defense as Michigan notched 12 shots to Northern Michigan’s 2. But with five minutes left in the first period, Northern Michigan’s second shot – courtesy of forward Matt Butcher – found its way between the legs of Michigan goalie Billy Sauer to tie the game at 1.

The Wolverines had their best opportunity to break the game open early with 4:16 left in the first period. Northern Michigan alternate captain Billy Smith shoved Michigan defenseman Chris Summers near the boards. Summers tripped and knocked his head hard against the boards, and Smith was called for a 5-minute major and game misconduct. Even with five minutes’ worth of the man advantage, Michigan couldn’t capitalize and the Wildcats gained the momentum going into the second period.

In the middle stanza, Michigan kept getting all the opportunities – but the Wildcats got the breaks. Michigan tallied 27 shots through 40 minutes but scored just once in the second stanza. The Wildcats, on the other hand, had six shots in the second period – and scored on two. Travis Turnbull scored to put the Wolverines ahead by one before Northern Michigan scored twice in two minutes late in the second period to make it 3-2.

After launching 27 on-target shots, Michigan’s game-tying goal 1:11 into the third period came on a lucky bounce. Defenseman Chad Langlais knocked the puck across the ice in front of the Northern Michigan goal. The puck ricocheted off the inside of Miller’s right skate and flew into the goal to tie the game at 3.

Five minutes later, the Wolverines regained the lead after a long shot by defenseman Mark Mitera deflected off both defenseman Steve Kampfer and Turnbull before landing in the net. But with 7:13 remaining in the game, Northern Michigan tied the game at 4 after a scrum by the net left Sauer and the Wolverines confused.

Miller’s second goal came after he deflected a Chad Kolarik shot past Stewart. The goal proved to be the game-winner for Michigan.

With 11.2 seconds left, Ben Winnett sent a long shot down the length of the ice. Northern Michigan forward Matt Siddall raced after the puck, but it slowly crossed the crease right before Siddall could get to the other side of the ice.

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