Karl Henkel/At the CCHA Championship
DETROIT -- Though upstart Alaska gave Michigan all it could handle, the Wolverines were simply too quick for the Nanooks in a 3-1 victory in the second semifinal of the CCHA Championship.
Louie Caporusso had a goal and two assists and Bryan Hogan made 25 saves for the Wolverines, who will play Notre Dame in the CCHA Championship Saturday evening.
“We knew Alaska was on a roll and had a terrific season,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We’re supposed to be able to score but there wasn’t a lot to choose tonight.”
The first period couldn’t have been any more uneventful, with a limited number of shots. That is, until play got a little dirty late in the session.
Alaska’s Bryant Molle was assessed a five-minute major for checking from behind and was also hit with a 10-minute game misconduct for taking a run at Michigan’s Aaron Palushaj with just over four minutes to go in the opening period.
“You have to trust the right call,” Berenson said. “You hate to see a game decided on a play like that.”
The Wolverines capitalized just moments later as Chad Langlais pinched in from the point and found a wide-open goalmouth, giving UM the lead.
As the fast-paced game continued to go by without many scoring chances, Alaska was finally awarded a power-play opportunity when Michigan’s Brian Lebler went off for a slash.
Braden Walls tipped Joe Sova’s point shot past Hogan’s glove hand.
It didn’t take long for the maize-and-blue to respond, as Caporusso one-timed a cross-ice pass from Steve Kampfer past 2009 CCHA Player of the Year Chad Johnson (who made 29 saves) in the waning minutes of the second.
Alaska couldn’t capitalize on any opportunities in the third period, and with 2:22 to go, Sova was given a checking-from-behind penalty.
When Alaska coach Dallas Ferguson decided to pull Johnson to even things off, Palushaj finished it off with an empty-net goal.
“I thought we had an offensive faceoff and our guys have been doing good on draws,” Ferguson said. “My plan was to try out a play off that.”
Michigan (29-10-0, 20-8-0-0 CCHA) will face Notre Dame in the championship tomorrow night, while Alaska (17-15-6, 13-10-5-3 CCHA) plays Northern Michigan earlier in the consolation game.