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Michigan hockey sweeps Lake Superior State in dominant fashion

Fantilli’s seven-point weekend paves the way for two more Michigan victories.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan Wolverines (5-1) got back to their winning ways this weekend, taking two games from the Lake Superior State Lakers with scores of 5-2 and 5-1. Michigan was led by freshman phenom Adam Fantilli’s seven-point effort across both games, and seized control in each game early on and cruised to victory.

In the first game, the Wolverines broke the scoreless tie just 45 seconds into the first period. Mackie Samoskevich played the puck up the left boards to Dylan Duke, who — after a slick move around a defender — fired the puck across ice for a Fantilli one-timer.

Ten minutes later, Fantilli struck again. After receiving a cross-ice pass from defenseman Jacob Truscott, Fantilli looked like Allen Iverson on ice with a beautiful deke around the Laker defender that left him touching the earth. Fantilli proceeded to crash the net and a Lake Superior State defender would help nudge the puck in for his second of the night.

To close the first, Truscott faked a blast from the top of the zone, moved laterally and wristed home the third Wolverine goal of the period. Laker goaltender Ethan Langenegger never saw the puck.

Opening the scoring in the second, freshman Kienan Draper crashed the net hard after a short dish from TJ Hughes and scored his first career collegiate goal. After going up 4-0, the Wolverines started to coast to a fault.

Three minutes later, a horrendous Michigan defensive rotation broke the shutout, and then 58 seconds into the third period, a soft goal allowed by Michigan goaltender Erik Portillo on a Lake Superior State power play made it 4-2, and suddenly, it felt like a game again.

Fortunately, the Wolverines battened down the hatches and played defensively-sound hockey to seal the victory. Fantilli netted a hat trick on an empty netter, and Michigan won its first road game of the season, 5-2.

Fantilli finished with three goals and Truscott finished with four points behind one goal and three assists. Despite the late soft goal, Portillo improved his save percentage by stopping 26-of-28 shots and collected his fourth victory of the season.

In game two, the Lakers turned to last year’s rotational starter Seth Eisele in net. Eisele held up for the first half of the period, until Samoskevich lit the lamp at 10:08 of the first period. Samo ripped a shot from distance through heavy traffic to put the Wolverines up 1-0.

Later in the period, Fantilli timely buried a backhand for his fourth goal of the weekend after an Ethan Edwards shot went off the boards. In the second period, Jackson Hallum fed TJ Hughes in the slot who put a bevy of moves on the under prepared goaltender who had no chance.

The score was 3-0 Michigan, but finally the Lakers showed some life. They answered on the power play with a bang-bang-bang connection. Michigan — seemingly reinvigorated after allowing any goals — responded just over four minutes later.

On the power play, Fantilli (again) fired a blistering one-timer that was stopped right on the stick of an awaiting TJ Hughes.

In the third period, Michigan did not get lackadaisical this time and put the skates to the neck. Dylan Duke aggressively forced a neutral zone turnover, fed Fantilli on the right side, and the phenom fed Duke back on the left who fired a knuckle puck to make it 5-1. With the final goal for the Wolverines, Fantilli secured his seventh point of the weekend and Michigan improved to 5-1 on the season.

Michigan was laser focused and sharp in the execution in the second game. The trio of Samoskevich, Hughes and Duke all added a pair of points to secure a victory in the second game. Portillo was sharp in both games, stopping 23-of-24 shots in the latter game for a .958 save percentage.

Michigan is steadily improving week-to-week and Fantilli is one of the early season front-runners for the Hobey Baker.

Next weekend, the Wolverines play Western Michigan in a home-and-home series.