By JERAMY STOVER, Staff Reporter
As the University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey team (8-12) was cruising past John Carroll (7-10) Saturday night, a chunk of ice broke apart behind one of the goal nets.
The officials tried to repair the ice surface twice in the last half of the second period, but were unable to make the ice safe enough to continue play.
The Wolverines (8-12) were leading John Carroll (7-10) 3-0 with 6:19 left in the second period when the game was suspended after agreement between the two coaches and the officials.
“It’s not safe. It’s not playable,” said UM-Dearborn head coach Chris Haltinner. “We don’t need a kid breaking his ankle.”
“Not this severe, to where they actually stopped the game,” added sophomore forward Gino Darin when asked whether or not he had experienced an issue with the ice rink, like he did Saturday.
As for the game itself, the Wolverines got off to a fast start as they scored 1:16 in the opening period. Jase Paciocco took a pass out front from Ryan Kelly and slid the puck in the net behind the Blue Streak goaltender. It was Paciocco’s eighth goal of the season, a team high.
Just two minutes later, John Carroll was called for a too many men on the ice penalty.
The Wolverines capitalized on the power play when Ryan Urso scored his sixth goal of the season. Urso ripped a shot that hit a Blue Streak defender and caused him to fall down. The puck then deflected back to Urso, who maneuvered around the fallen Blue Streak and shot the puck in the net. Kelly recorded his second assist of the game on the shot.
With 2:20 left in the first period, the Wolverines almost scored again as the puck laid in the crease after a failed wrap around attempt. A John Carroll defenseman was able to knock the puck to safety to keep the score at 2-0.
UM-Dearborn outshot John Carroll 17-5 in the first period.
The Blue Streaks came out of the locker room playing with more intensity. Kevin Vinyard was able to get a breakaway just a minute into the period, but hit the post on a backhand shot.
UM-Dearborn’s Marcus McSweeney fired a shot past John Carroll’s goalie from the high slot giving his team a 3-0 lead three minutes into the period. It would be McSweeney’s eighth goal of the season.
Vineyard looked to break the shut out with a one on one opportunity but had the puck knocked off his stick by Urso.
With just over eight minutes remaining in the period, the officials stopped the game to try and repair the damaged ice. They sprayed water on the ice surface hoping to freeze together the broken pieces of ice.
The game continued for another minute and a half before the officials stopped the game again to repair the ice. They agreed to begin the second intermission and hope that resurfacing the ice would solve the problem.
After the zamboni cleaned the surface, they examined the area that was damaged and realized that the problem had not been solved. UM-Dearborn field house workers shoveled snow onto the ice and scraped it over the area.
After a ten minute delay was given to let the snow melt into the ice, the two head coaches and officials agreed to suspend the game. The two teams do not meet again during the regular season.
“We’re gonna see if they’re gonna give us the win cause the game was half over or what’s gonna happen, probably not a reschedule but we’ll see,” said Haltinner.
Senior Jeremy Klotz said that the fast start to the game helped set the tone for the Wolverines.
“We knew coming out we needed to play the body, we needed to be physical with them right away,” he said. “Especially playing on Saturday, having Friday off, only one game empty the tank.”
Darin, Klotz, and Jeff McFarland’s line known as the “Downriver Express” was a nightmare for the Blue Streaks all game. The line has been clicking in recent games.
“Jeff and Gino can both score. I’m just kind of out there giving them the puck, so I’ll do what I got to do to get the express rolling here,” said Klotz.
With the second half of the season coming up, Haltinner expressed the need to capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes.
“All the lines are doing pretty good here, biggest thing for us is just making sure we can capitalize,” he said.
Next up for UM-Dearborn is the Great Lakes Showcase held at the Fieldhouse. The Wolverines’ first game is Nov. 28 at 8:00 p.m. against Michigan State.
“Our goal now is just to win every game, win our showcase tournament, that’s the biggest thing right now,” Haltinner said.