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Michigan hockey overcomes lull to sweep Lake Superior State

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The Wolverines gave up four unanswered goals, but scored five straight goals of their own to pull away.

NCAA Hockey: Big Ten Hockey Tournament-Michigan vs Ohio State South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK

While the No. 3 Michigan hockey team was much shakier than in its season opener, the Wolverines found their form just in time to shake off Lake Superior State, 7-4, Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena.

Michigan could not have gotten off to a hotter start in this one, scoring twice within three minutes. Lake Superior State committed a penalty in the first minute and Brendan Brisson took advantage, ripping a shot past Ethan Langenegger off a cross-ice feed by Thomas Bordeleau. Two minutes later, Luke Morgan dashed with the puck from one zone to another and dished it to Michael Pastujov, who took a shot, had it saved and followed up his own rebound for a 2-0 lead.

But the Lakers took it to the Wolverines after that. They consistently got the puck deep into the Michigan zone, forcing Erik Portillo to make a number of tough saves.

Eventually, LSSU began to cash in on its chances, scoring three times to take the lead just before the end of a surprisingly evenly-matched first period. Louis Boudon turned things from bad to worse for Michigan when he scored only one minute into the second period to make it 4-2.

Pastujov took it on himself to give his team a spark. Late in the second, the senior forward forced a turnover near the boards and gained the puck himself, finishing off a breakaway down the left side by beating Langenegger five-hole.

Lake Superior State went on the power play a few minutes later, but the Wolverines were strong on special teams most of the night. They held off the Lakers and right at the end of the man advantage, they gained the puck and found themselves with a 2-on-1 breakaway. Morgan skated down the right side and found Jimmy Lambert, who wristed home the game-tying goal.

From there, Michigan seemed to get things fully under control. Brisson sniped in his second goal of the night on a power play early in the third period, and Jacob Truscott snapped off a shot from the blue line to make it 6-4 about 10 minutes later. Thomas Bordeleau later provided the finishing blow by crashing to the net and flicking home a pass from Mark Estapa.

Michigan scored on two of its three power plays, while holding the Lakers to just 1-of-6 in that same category. The Wolverines used nice speed on their penalty kill and held LSSU without a shot on goal on three power plays.

The Wolverines outshot Lake Superior State 39-30 for the game, but shot totals were even for the first two periods, and possession appeared to be too. Michigan took 13 third-period shots to just seven for the Lakers.

While the Lakers kept the Wolverines out of the most dangerous areas on the ice for much of the game, Michigan had too much speed and skill on the rush and with the man-advantage, which proved to be the difference.

Michigan will be on the road next weekend at the Duluth Ice Breaker, where it will face Minnesota Duluth on Oct. 15 and either Minnesota State or Providence on Oct. 16. While the Wolverines are 2-0, they’ll need to be a lot less sloppy than they were Saturday night to have success up in Minnesota.