ANN ARBOR - Northern Michigan University has never beaten Michigan in a CCHA playoff game.
And that record will hold as the Wolverines ended the Wildcats' season with a resounding 6-2 victory on Saturday night in the final edition of the CCHA Tournament.
No. 7 seed Michigan swept the best-of-three series and has won six consecutive games. No. 10 seed NMU had split each of its last four weekend series but couldn't force a third game at Yost Ice Arena.
Northern Michigan University’s Erik Higby, front, skates away from the University of Michigan’s Andrew Copp (18) during Game 2 of a CCHA first-round playoff series in Ann Arbor on Saturday. (NMU?photo by Calvin Larson)
NMU coach Walt Kyle said that nerves led to a slow start that hurt his team in Friday's 3-2 loss, and the Wildcats again looked shaky in the opening minutes on Saturday.
Moments after failing to sustain pressure on a power play, Northern conceded a goal when U-M forward Alex Guptill corralled a loose puck and backhanded it past Wildcat junior goaltender Jared Coreau.
Kyle immediately called timeout, but the Wolverines' forecheck continued to cause problems. Coreau responded well as he was bombarded with 23 shots in the first period, but even he could do little to stop a wicked Jacob Trouba slapshot that doubled Michigan's lead.
"(Michigan) just handled us from start to finish," Kyle said. "We were outplayed significantly."
The shot chart illustrated that, with the Wolverines finishing with a 50-20 shots on goal advantage.
Northern was dominated in the opening frame, though forward Darren Nowick salvaged the period with under a minute remaining. Taking control of a turnover behind the net, the freshman had his first attempt stopped by Wolverine goaltender Steve Racine. But Nowick kept his composure and poked his own rebound around the netminder.
Coreau continued to stand on his head in the second period, keeping NMU close by stopping several point-blank attempts and a penalty shot. But Michigan center Andrew Copp and defender Mac Bennett each managed power-play goals during that time to send the crowd into a frenzy and put the game out of reach.
The Wolverines added a fifth goal early in the final stanza on a Luke Moffatt wrister and a sixth on a Copp penalty shot. Northern senior Kyle Follmer found twine with a minute remaining, a bittersweet ending to Northern's weekend - and season.
"There's not a lot else I can say," Kyle said. "Not happy with the result, but we're certainly going to move ahead from it."