CCHA Press Release
Farmington Hills, Mich., Three teams advanced to next weekend’s semifinal round at Joe Louis Arena with Saturday night wins. Two of the clubs got game winners from freshman defensemen, as Michigan beat Ferris State 3-2 and Miami completed the sweep with a 5-4 overtime victory. Northern Michigan advanced with their 3-2 win over Nebraska-Omaha and Michigan State forced the first game three in this season’s CCHA playoffs, beating Alaska Fairbanks 6-1.
Despite three teams clinching spots at the Joe, neither of Friday’s semifinal matchups have been set. Miami could face either Northern Michigan or Alaska Fairbanks while Michigan will battle either Northern Michigan or Michigan State.
At East Lansing, Mich., Michigan State had a lot more success against Wylie Rogers on Saturday than the previous night’s 2-1 loss. After just one goal on 37 shots Friday, the Spartans struck six times against the sophomore goalie on 24 chances. Sophomore forward Jim McKenzie’s first period power-play goal opened the scoring for the Green and White. It was in the second period that MSU’s scoring attack really erupted, with goals by junior Drew Miller, freshman Tim Crowder and sophomores Chris Mueller and Bryan Lerg. Each team would score once on the power play in the final frame as junior forward Chris Lawrence got MSU’s sixth goal before freshman forward Kyle Jones got UAF on the board. Miller led the Spartan scorers with a goal and three assists on the night. Freshman goalie Jeff Lerg made 30 saves to earn the win.
At Ann Arbor, Mich., All-Rookie Team defenseman Jack Johnson broke a third period deadlock as Michigan advanced to the CCHA semifinals with a 3-2 win over Ferris State. After a scoreless first period, senior forward Brandon Kaleniecki wasted little time putting Michigan up, striking 31 seconds into the frame. The Bulldogs would get the next two, as senior Greg Rallo and junior Eric Vesely gave Ferris the lead for the first time in the series. Junior forward T.J. Hensick tied the game for the Wolverines at the 13:26 mark of the second period. Hensick’s goal was set up by Johnson and he returned the favor with the lone assist on the game-winning goal at 4:11 of the third period.
At Marquette, Mich., Three second period goals by Wildcat upperclassmen led Northern Michigan to a 3-2 downing of Nebraska-Omaha and a trip to Joe Louis Arena. Forwards Pat Bateman, a junior, and seniors Jamie Milam and Andrew Contois would get the goals for NMU to take a 3-0 lead into the third period. The Mavericks normally potent offense was shutout for four straight periods, going back to last night, before power-play opportunities finally got them back on the board. Junior forwards Kaleb Betts and Alex Nikiforuk would tally to get their team back within one as 4:39 remained in the third period. Northern Michigan sophomore goalie Bill Zaniboni would make sure they couldn’t complete the comeback and finished with 28 saves and the victory.
At Oxford, Ohio, Freshman defenseman Alec Martinez struck twice, including the overtime game-winner, as Miami beat Western Michigan 5-4. The rookie blueliner, who had no goals in 34 games before the playoffs, opened the scoring for the second straight night. Miami would lose the lead, as each team did twice during the see-saw affair, when senior forward Daryl Moore scored two goals for the Broncos before the first intermission. The RedHawks would control play in the second period, generating 18 shots and tallying twice. Freshman forward Justin Mercier tied it at 2-2 before Miami regained the lead with a goal from senior forward Matt Davis on the power play. Two Western Michigan seniors weren’t quite ready to end their collegiate careers just yet. Forward Mike Erickson and defenseman Reid Yantzi had third period goals to give WMU the 4-3 lead with 7:48 left to play. Junior forward Marty Guerin would force overtime by scoring with under four minutes remaining in regulation.