The Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL) playoffs were bittersweet for UM-Dearborn.
After beating Eastern Michigan 6-3 at the Arrington Ice Arena on Friday, the Wolves were decimated by Oakland, losing 8-1 in the semi-finals on Saturday.

In the first period, the Grizzlies, who eventually lost to host school Adrian 3-1 on Sunday, went on a six goal blitzkrieg strike on starting goalie, Micah Collier.

“We made things happen out there. We made good passes and guys went to the net hard. We got shots off when we could,” said Brian Baker, Oakland’s junior captain.

Oakland took advantage of bunched up defenders and passing lanes to create their lead. Baker opened the scoring for the Grizzlies. Less than a minute later, Oakland rushed Collier and peppered the net which lead to a goal by senior Brandon Johnson.

Back-up goalie Josh Khan replaced Collier, who let in six goals on 15 shots after the first period. The change didn’t stop the bleeding, as Khan let in two goals.

The Wolves’ lone goal came in the second period, when freshman Kyle Horn beat Matt Toter in the second period.

Friday’s game against EMU was a different story.

The Wolves were led by senior Kyle Papke’s natural hat-trick in the second period.

Already down, 2-1, Anthony Olson drove the puck on EMU’s Andrew Duff. After getting his own rebound, he circled the net and found Papke wide open in front of the net to tie the game at two.

Midway through the second Papke netted two power play goals after EMU sent both Robert Gasser and Gary Astolos to the box, giving the Wolves a 4-2 lead. The Wolves would make sure the Eagles wouldn’t get back into the contest.

Using the momentum from Papke’s huge second period, UM-D added goals from Olson and Macari to counter a third period goal by Astolos, giving the Wolves a 6-3 win.

Despite the bittersweet weekend, the Wolves have a bright future under first year head coach Bobby Clouston. Throughout the year, the Wolves played tough against top opponents, and their special teams were much improved, getting goals on shorthanded opportunities and power plays, as well as penalty kills.

Next season, if the Wolves can get past this season’s trend of splitting games, this team could contend for GLCHL title in next year’s playoffs.