It won't be an all-Michigan CCHA final after all.
Lake Superior State was blanked, 3-0, by the country's top team, Notre Dame, yesterday in the first semifinal at Joe Louis Arena while Michigan beat rival Michigan State, 5-2, in the second game.
Michigan and Notre Dame will play tonight at 7 p.m. for the championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan snapped a 0-4-3 winless streak against the Spartans at Joe Louis Arena. Until last night, the last Wolverine victory at the Joe came on March 1, 2003.
The Wolverines (26-12-1) jumped out to a 3-0 lead on two goals by Kevin Porter (pictured) and one by Chris Summers. T.J. Hensick assisted on both Porter tallies.
"I had thought about it for a long time and today I felt like it was payback," Porter said of redeeming himself against MSU. "We came out flying and those couple goals felt great."
Hensick and Chad Kolarik scored in the third period, answering goals from Jim McKenzie and Tim Kennedy.
"I think this was a typical Michigan-Michigan State game," UM head coach Red Berenson said. "From a coach's perspective, you just do not like to give up any goals against. But I thought our best players were our best players and for the most part, this was a good game for our team."
Billy Sauer stopped 18 shots for Michigan, including a first-period penalty shot by Justin Abdelkader.
"That's probably the most nervous I've ever been in a game like this," Abdelkader said. "I came down, faked the shot and I kind of saw the five-hole open up. I went for the five-hole and it just got a little bit too high, otherwise it would have been in. Give Sauer credit on that though, he made a great save."
Jeff Lerg made 16 saves for the Spartans (21-13-3), who play in the consolation game against LSSU at 3:30 p.m.
"This is disappointing, but our season isn't over," MSU head coach Rick Comley said. "If we win (Saturday) then we'll be in the national tournament for sure, so it's a very big game for us."
In the Lakers' loss, Jeff Jakaitis turned aside 26 shots.
"(Saturday) will be our last day together with this team," said a visibly emotional Lake Superior State head coach Jim Roque. "They will show up. They owe it to this guy right here (Jakaitis) and the rest of the seniors."