It wasn't easy, but Michigan held on for a 3-2 win over a game Niagara squad Thursday night at Yost Ice Arena in the Wolverines' home opener.
Michigan built a 3-0 lead by the 11:38 mark of the first period on power-play goals by A.J. Treais (1:47) and Carl Hagelin (3:28) and then an even-strength tally from Robbie Czarnik. Treais' tally was the freshman's first NCAA goal.
Bryan Hogan made 32 saves for the win and said afterwards that seeing a lot of rubber kept him in the game.
"We haven't played in two weeks," Hogan said. "Every game I might fight it at the beginning, but that happens and these guys bail me out. You just have to play like it's a 0-0 game and not worry about the score."
The Purple Eagles got on the board late in the first period on a goal from captain Ryan Olidis and then Paul Zanette scored in the final minute of the second period, but NU could not find the equalizer in the third.
Adam Avramenko finished with 30 stops for Niagara.
"We knew it would be a tough game even though we got off to what you might call a false start with those two power-play goals," Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. "You knew Niagara wasn't going to go away and they didn't and they stayed in the game. They had pressure on us all night. As a coach, I'm not happy. I think our team has to play better than that. Certainly we knew we might be a little rusty, but we just didn't get better as the game went on."
Michigan (2-1-0) travels to defending NCAA champion Boston University on Saturday night.
"I think we'll play a lot better in our next game, I really do," said Berenson. "I think that this game was a measurement of where we are. We all know we can play better. I think that we needed this game. We can practice so long, but it's so much different and quicker and more physical in a game. I think this will help us in Saturday's game."
Treais photo courtesy UM Photo Services