DETROIT – Seventh-seeded Michigan continued its hot streak Saturday afternoon, as it scored four second-period goals to break a scoreless tie en route to a 6-2 victory over the top-seeded Miami hockey team in the CCHA Tournament Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena. The third-ranked RedHawks dropped to 24-11-5 overall, while the No. 20 Wolverines improved to 18-18-3.
Andrew Copp and Alex Guptill led Michigan with two goals apiece, while CCHA Player of the Year Austin Czarnik assisted on both of Miami’s scores, which came off the sticks of freshman forward Sean Kuraly and senior forward Curtis McKenzie.
After a scoreless first period that saw both sides put the puck on the goal line but not across, the Wolverines got on the board first with a short-handed 3:26 into the second stanza. Senior defenseman Steven Spinell’s shot from the blue line was blocked by Kevin Lynch, who took the puck up the right side and dished it back to Copp on a 2-on-1 breakaway for the score.
Several minutes later, Michigan took a commanding 4-0 lead, as the Wolverines scored three goals in a little more than two minutes. Jacob Trouba sent a pass through the slot from just above the top of the left circle and found Copp waiting on the back door for the quick wrister with 10:38 left to start the barrage.
Luke Moffatt extended Michigan’s lead to 3-0, scoring on a wrist shot from the slot at the 10:50 mark of the middle period, while A.J. Treais pushed the lead to four goals with 8:27 left in the frame.
RedHawks’ freshman goalie Ryan McKay, who had 12 saves in 31 minutes and 33 seconds of action, was replaced by classmate Jay Williams after Treais’ goal, giving Williams his first action in seven games. MU finished with 35 shots on goal in defeat, while the Wolverines totaled 27 as Williams compiled nine stops in relief. UM netminder Steve Racine finished with 33 saves in victory.
Miami finally found the back of the net near the end of the second, when Kuraly banged home a rebound with 2:46 to go for his sixth goal. Czarnik recorded the lone assist on the play as he carried the puck into the crease.
Guptill scored the first of his two goals for UM 55 seconds into the final frame on the power play to again up the RedHawk deficit to four, and rounded out Michigan’s scoring with another tally with 7:46 left. Miami finished 6-for-7 on the penalty kill while Miami was 1-for-5 with the man-advantage of its own.
McKenzie scored MU’s power play goal 5:05 into the third period in between Guptill’s scores on a quick shot in front of the net. Czarnik, who was circling behind the goal line, found the senior unguarded for his 10th goal of the year, which closed the gap to three. Freshman defenseman Matthew Caito earned the second assist on the play.
The Wolverines, who are riding a nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1), will play Notre Dame in the CCHA Tournament Championship game on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. in the final CCHA game ever. The Irish defeated Ohio State, 3-1, in Saturday’s early semifinal game. Miami’s game against Michigan was its final CCHA game as the conference is disbanding after the season.
Despite the loss, the RedHawks, who won the CCHA regular-season championship, will receive an at-large bid for their eighth straight NCAA Tournament berth Sunday night when the 16-team field is announced at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.