UM beats Minnesota, Red Berenson one win from 800
Ann Arbor — The Wolverines will be trying to hand head coach Red Berenson his 800th career win Saturday afternoon at Yost Arena while — more importantly — staying atop the Big Ten standings.
The Wolverines put Berenson in position to earn his milestone win with a few freshmen coming up with big play after big play Friday night at Yost, including Cutler Martin's goal 2 minutes, 16 seconds into overtime to give them a 4-3 win over the No. 9 Golden Gophers (10-6-1, 1-1-1).
Michigan (11-7-0, 3-1-0) — which now sits in first in the Big Ten following Ohio State's 5-4 OT win over Penn State (9-7-2, 3-2-0) — took a 2-1 lead at 7:48 of the third on freshman center Dylan Larkin's power-play goal, but a five-minute major penalty on captain Andrew Copp opened the door for Minnesota to take a 3-2 lead on power-play goals by Justin Kloos and Travis Boyd.
Then, Michigan freshman defenseman Zach Werenski made the play of the game, coming back to get his stick on Travis Boyd's breakaway opportunity. Moments later the Wolverines pulled even when senior Zach Hyman broke in down the left side, and flipped the puck in front with Justin Selman knocking it past Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox with 6:31 left in regulation.
"Zach made an unbelievable play on Boyd, who had a couple of steps on him, and he was able to backcheck and get a stick on him and that was huge because if they score there the game's pretty much over," Hyman said.
"I don't know how he got the puck, but he got the puck and then I just wanted to take it wide on their D and I did that and threw it in front and hoped someone was there and luckily Justin was driving to the net hard and put it in. I didn't even see the goal because I was falling into the boards, but I was happy. I turned my head and saw the ref pointing and saw Justin celebrating and said 'Wow!' "
Hyman, who has a team-high 24 points, scored his 10th goal of the season to pull the Wolverines even at 1 1:44 into the second period. He had six shots and assisted on the other three goals, including Martin's, which set off a wild celebration.
"Our forwards were working hard down low and we had a lot of pressure on them," Martin said of his winning goal. "I know their goalie was kind of confused. I don't think he really knew where the puck was and Larks (Larkin, located near side of net) threw the puck out to me and a Minnesota forward came out to block the puck and had a little gap in his legs and I tried shooting through it and it ended up going in.
"This one was pretty special. Growing up you always hear Minnesota's this and Minnesota's that. Well, we're from Michigan and we think Michigan's pretty dang good, right? I was really happy to beat Minnesota, it's one of those teams that's always on your bucket list each year to take down."
Michigan junior Steve Racine, who won the Great Lakes Invitational MVP for leading the Wolverines to the title over the holidays, stopped 32 of 35 shots.
Saturday the Wolverines will be going for the sweep to make Berenson the fourth coach in college history to reach 800 victories.
1. Jerry York (Clarkson, Bowling Green, Boston College) – 974
2. Ron Mason (Lake Superior State, Bowling Green, MSU) – 924
3. Jack Parker (Boston University) – 897
4. Red Berenson (Michigan) – 799