Michigan Beats Miami To Reach CCHA Championship Game

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Posted on 19th March 2010 by Ben Krasner in Sports Commentary | University of Michigan Sports

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Llewellyn scores the first goal as Michigan beats Miami to advance  to the CCHA tournament final

Tristan Llewellyn scores a first period goal against Miami in the semifinal matchup. (Photo via Inside College Hockey and CCHA.com)

The University of Michigan Ice Hockey Team upset the number 2 ranked Miami, OH Redhawks 5-2 in their CCHA tournament semifinal game, Friday night, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI to advance to the title game where they will face Northern Michigan for the tournament championship on Saturday.

After a bit of a sluggish start, the wolverines dominated the game by employing their skill and speed for all to see against Miami – talent that has at times been missing in action this season on both the offensive and defensive ends.  With the win Michigan secures it’s 9th tournament championship game appearance in 10 years and probably moved into a stronger position to extend it’s record 19 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances mark to 20.

Freshman Kevin Lynch led all scorers with 2 goals and an assist on the night and Tristan Llewellyn, Lee Moffie and Brian Lebler also put the puck to the back of the net.  At times Michigan looked like it could do no wrong as passes seemed either perfect or to have options when off the mark.  A pretty tic-tac-toe play culminated in Michigan’s second goal of the night, a quick deposit to the back of the net by Lee Moffie following some great work on the boards and in front of the CCHA player of the year and Miami goaltender Cody Reichard.  Two other goals were the result of passes that missed the intended target but which found another player with a willing stick anyway.

Shawn Hunwick continues his thrilling story of seizing opportunity when it’s presented following goaltender Bryan Hogan’s groin injury in the second to last game of the regular season, against Notre Dame.  In just his 6th start of his carerr, Hunwick is playing solid in net and making some clutch saves.  Hunwick had a great second period when his team was tested the most.  Still at times looking as if he is playing a game he is simply too small to play, Hunwick continues to show great heart, quick vision and sound instincts in challenging shooters to close down opportunities at his net.

In what has been a tough year for the marquee sports at the University of Michigan, it was great to see the hockey team put a very complete effort together (and yes, even catch a touch of fortune in the process) to knock of an excellent and stingy defensive team and reach the championship final.  This coming after a great opening round showing against Lake Superior State and a quarterfinal sweep of rival Michigan State at Munn Ice Arena to get to Joe Louis Arena and the Final Four of the CCHA tournament for the 21st consecutive season and the hockey team clearly looks to be peaking at just the right time.

Northern Michigan finished 4th in the CCHA regular season and the wildcats were ranked 12th in both the USA today and USCHO polls before tournament play began.  The two teams split their two contests in Ann Arbor back in February of this year.  The wolverines finished in 7th place during the CCHA regular season while playing largely inconsistent hockey and are ranked 17th in the USCHO poll.  The puck drops for the championship at 7:35 on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

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