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Michigan 3, Colorado College 2, OT

March 31, 1996

CINCINNATI (AP) _ There was no better way for Michigan to win a hockey championship.

The team that has been knocked out of the NCAA tournament in overtime the last three years finally got that elusive final break Saturday and celebrated its first national championship in 32 years.

Brendan Morrison flipped in a rebound 3:35 into overtime for a 3-2 victory over Colorado College that gave Michigan an unprecedented eighth national title.

``The ghosts are gone,″ said goalie Marty Turco, who stopped 21 of 23 shots, including one in overtime.

The Wolverines (33-7-2) faced long odds in overtime. They were 2-7 in NCAA tournament overtimes and were 0-4-2 overall in their last six overtimes this season.

Plus, Colorado College (33-5-4) had gotten to the title game by winning a double-overtime game against Vermont on Thursday.

``In overtime, sometimes it’s a lucky bounce,″ said Peter Geronazzo, who scored one of the Tigers’ goals and assisted on the other. ``We seemed to get that bounce Thursday. It just wasn’t in the cards today.″

Morrison ended Michigan’s bad overtime run with his first goal of the game. Greg Crozier’s shot went off a defender, goalie Ryan Bach blocked Bill Muckalt’s follow-up, and Morrison scooped in the rebound from the right side. Bach sprawled, but the puck flew just past his glove.

``I can’t even remember now,″ said Morrison, who had a hard time reconstructing the play. ``The puck was rolling. I shot it. It seemed like it took forever to get into the net.″

That shot eased a lot of disappointment for Michigan, which hadn’t won a championship since 1964. The Wolverines’ last title-game appearance ended in a 6-5 overtime loss to Wisconsin in 1977.

Coach Red Berenson, who played and coached in the NHL, called it the biggest thrill of his hockey career.

``Nothing is close,″ said Berenson, in his 12th season at Michigan. ``This is much, much better.″

Colorado College was trying for its first national championship since 1957, when it defeated Michigan.

``It ended up ending pretty quick,″ Geronazzo said. ``We didn’t get any chances in overtime. They got three bangs at it. I guess we weren’t quick enough defensively.″

Neither team led by more than a goal in a game dominated by defense. Colorado College got a pair of goals within a two-minute span of the second period, and Michigan got scores in the first and third. Both teams wasted chance to score a game-winner in the closing minutes.

Colorado’s Eric Rud hit the right post with a slap shot with 5:57 left, and Morrison fanned on a two-on-one breakaway a minute later.

The teams combined for only eight shots on goal in the first period, the lowest one-period total for a championship game. Colorado College made the only major mistake, letting Bill Muckalt get free for an uncontested slap shot at 11:33 on a centering pass from Morrison.

The Tigers beat Turco twice during a 1:45 span of the second period for a 2-1 lead. Colin Schmidt got control behind the net and centered for Geronazzo’s power-play goal at 16:08.

They changed roles for the second goal. Geronazzo’s shot was blocked by Turco, but Schmidt snuck from behind the net to get the rebound and flip it past Turco’s glove at 14:23.

Michigan tied it on a power-play goal with 13:06 left when Bach blocked Mike Legg’s shot and Steven Halko flipped in the rebound from the left post.

All scores came in the north goal. A leak at the other goal had caused major delays in the semifinals and left the ice mushy. There were no problems with the ice Saturday.

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