By Bob Miller/Michigan Beat Writer
Continuing the steady climb up the CCHA standings that they started in mid-December, Michigan took two tightly-contested games from Northern Michigan Friday and Saturday at Yost Arena.
The wins boost the Wolverines to the second spot in the CCHA standings behind consensus top-ranked Ferris State.
Trailing Ferris State by six points, Michigan needs major help from Western Michigan, the Bulldogs' final weekend opponent, to catch the league leader.
Michigan's special teams were the story of the Friday night opener against Northern Michigan. The Wolverines killed all six Wildcat power plays and scored two power-play goals of their own in a 4-1 win that wasn't decided until late in the third period.
Derek DeBlois' late third period goal put the Wolverines up 3-1 after Northern Michigan had applied steady pressure trying to tie the game in the final 20 minutes.
“I can't tell you exactly,” answered Michigan head coach Red Berenson, when asked the reason for his team's penalty killing prowess. “I think part of it was respect for their power play. Part of it was willingness to block shots and win faceoffs and do the little things, but our penalty killers were embarrassed last week. Tonight, it was a good night for them.”
A.J. Treais broke a 2-2 tie 1:20 into overtime on Saturday night, Michigan's Senior Night, on a lightning quick one-timer after receiving a pass from senior Wolverine captain Luke Glendening.
Glendening anticipated a back pass of the side boards from a Wildcat defenseman, intercepted the clearing attempt and found Treais open immediately. Treais made no mistake to clinch the 3-2 win and the series sweep for Michigan.
“He just didn't have anywhere else to go,” Glendening said of the intercepted pass. “He would have had to cross-ice and that's tough, especially in overtime. So, I just got lucky, I guess.”
“It's pretty fitting, “ continued Glendening regarding the fact that Treais bagged the goal. “The way he has been playing is unbelievable. He's been playing well offensively, but he's playing really well defensively.”
Michigan closes out its regular season with a pair of contests at Bowling Green this coming weekend before heading into the post-season.