A fine line for Michigan
ST. LOUIS — The Michigan Wolverines finally found a way to win in overtime.
A little unconventional and somewhat strange, but a winner nonetheless.
Sophomore Kevin Lynch scored 2:35 into the extra period last night to give Michigan a 3-2 win over Nebraska-Omaha in the semifinals of the West Regional at the Scottrade Center.
Michigan (27-10-4) advances to face Colorado College (23-18-3), an 8-4 winner over Boston College in the second semifinal.
Michigan had lost its last five NCAA Tournament overtime affairs, including 3-2 in double OT to Miami in the final of last year’s Midwest Regional.
But the Wolverines’ luck finally changed. The winning goal came off a scramble in front. Greg Pateryn took a shot that bounced off the end boards and in front of the net. Somehow, the puck apparently crossed the line behind goalie John Faulkner (34 saves).
The officials originally ruled it was not a goal and play continued. But after a stoppage, there was a booth review. Ten minutes later, the call was reversed.
Lynch, who hacked at the puck as it went by, was certain it crossed the line.
“I knew it was in,’’ he said. “It was a long wait, but I was confident that they would call it a goal.’’
Michigan coach Red Berenson wasn’t sure at first.
“It has to be conclusive when they change [the call] like that,’’ he said. “They took their time and made sure to get a good look at it.’’
Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais said it was one of the toughest losses of his career.
“The referee said it was in and we have to accept that,’’ he said.
Faulkner wasn’t sure what happened.
“I swiped at the puck with my right leg,’’ he said. “I’m not 100 percent sure if it went it. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.’’
The strange goal ended an evenly played contest.
Michigan rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit to post its eighth come-from-behind win of the season. Louie Caporusso (19th of the season) and Lynch (10th) scored in a 7:19 span of the second period to tie it.
Nebraska-Omaha (21-16-2), which came into the game a decided underdog, scored twice in the first 8:18. Rich Purslow got the ball rolling with a shorthanded goal at 1:35. Purslow broke free on a breakaway and backhanded a shot behind Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick (27 saves). It was the Mavericks’ sixth shorthanded tally of the season.
Alex Hudson pushed the lead to 2-0 by slapping in a cross-ice pass from Ryan Walters.
Michigan, which has won nine NCAA titles, is looking for its first crown since 1998.