MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sophomore Brandon Kaleniecki (Livonia, Mich.) scored twice, early in the first period and early in the third, to lead Michigan to a 4-1 win against New Hampshire in the second game of the NCAA Northeast Regional at a sold-out Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Michigan advances to the NCAA Northeast Regional final where it will face Boston College for a chance to advance to this year’s Frozen Four. The game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and will be televised in New England by NESN.
The Wolverines scored early just 1:05 into the contest when Kaleniecki gathered in a puck along the goal line to the left side of the net and lifted a shot from a tough angle past UNH senior goaltender Mike Ayers (Hingham, Mass.). The goal was the fifth quickest goal to start a game in NCAA Tournament history.
Michigan carried the play for much of the opening frame, outshooting New Hampshire 14-2.
The Wolverines would capitalize on a 2-on-1 at 9:45 of the second period to increase their lead to 2-0. Junior Milan Gajic (Burnaby, B.C.) carried into the offensive end on the right side and saucered a pass to sophomore Andrew Ebbett (Vernon, B.C.) breaking in on the left side. Ebbet scored his ninth goal of the season as he cut across in front and slid a backhander under Ayers.
Gajic would also assist on Michigan’s next goal, a power-play tally at 12:06 of the middle period that upped the Michigan lead to 3-0. From the left corner, Gajic made an angle pass back to junior Eric Werner (Pointe Woods, Mich.) who was collapsing from the right point. Werner quickly snapped off a shot for his ninth goal of the season and his fourth power-play goal. Freshman T.J. Hensick (Howell, Mich.) also assisted on the goal.
Kaleniecki’s second goal of the game came just 1:11 into the third. Rushing up the left wing, Kaleniecki’s first shot was stopped by Ayers but he lifted the rebound over the UNH netminder to give Michigan a 4-0 lead. Ebbett assisted on the goal with a breakout pass from the Michigan defensive end. With his two goals, Kaleniecki reached the 20-goal plateau on the season.
UNH would finally get on the board with 6:24 to play in the third when senior Nathan Martz (Chilliwack, B.C.) scored his tenth goal of the season. Senior captain Steve Saviano (Reading, Mass.) battled his way into the offensive right circle and the puck ended up loose along the back wall. Junior Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.) gathered in the puck and quickly centered to Martz who slid it through the legs of Michigan sophomore goaltender Al Montoya (Glenview, Ill.).
Montoya finished the game with 27 saves for the Wolverines, while Ayers stopped 34 for the Wildcats.
With the win, Michigan improves to 27-13-2. New Hampshire, the host school of the regional, ends its season with a record of 20-15-6.
The game was played in front of 10,104 fans.