By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
Tyler Groat has been a nightmare for the Oakland University hockey team this season.
And the Golden Grizzlies won’t be sleeping much better after Friday night’s game.
Groat’s two goal performance led University of Michigan-Dearborn to a 5-3 win over rival Oakland.
So far the Wolverines (13-3-2) are 3-0 against Oakland this season. Groat has eight goals and two assists in the three games.
The freshman forward, who leads his team in goals with 24 on the season said his team showed signs of a long lay-off early in the game but got better as it progressed.
“I thought we started out a little sloppy, a little rust, but that happens when you have a long break like that. But I thought we got better as the game went on which is what you want to see after coming off a break,” Groat said.
Oakland got off to a good start scoring just 1:36 into the game. Joe Pizzimenti went around the net and found a wide open Wade Orlowski who received the pass and put the puck in the net.
But the Golden Grizzlies only lead of the game would last just 43 seconds. Tyler Dalton answered quickly for the Wolverines scoring off a rebound that was shot by Gino Darin.
Dalton would earn two more assists in the period off goals by Marcus McSweeney and Jeff McFarland.
The second period is when things started to heat up. More pucks found the back of the net, and each team’s penalty box got more use out of it.
Groat scored back-to-back goals just 28 seconds apart giving the Wolverines a 5-1 lead. Kyle Nelson would cut the deficit to three just 57 seconds after Groat’s second goal.
The two teams would also combine for 11 penalties in the second period, something not out of the ordinary for a rivalry game.
Oakland scored just 2:51 into the third period to make it a 5-3 game. Which gave them plenty of time to make a late charge. But the Wolverines stepped up their defensive play late in the game which allowed them to cruise through the remainder of the third period.
“Things could’ve gone for the worst when they scored that third goal, but we got together and we said, ‘Hey it’s time to play some good defense,’ and everyone just chipped in and did their part,” Tyler Dalton said.
UM-Dearborn head coach Chris Haltinner was happy to see his team win three in a row against their conference foe. As happy as he was to see his team get another win against a tough team, he knows completing the season sweep won’t be easy.
“Well we did (win), so we’re doing good, but we got one more coming up so it’s going to be tough we got to finish,” Haltinner said.
With the Saturday game of the weekend series getting postponed, the Wolverines will only play one game this weekend, even with the win it’ll be interesting to see if they climb higher in the national rankings from their current 13th position.
UM-Dearborn will have a tough test as they play No. 6 ranked Adrian next weekend in a home-home series. The two-game set will open up Friday, Jan. 15, when the Wolverines will host the Bulldogs at the Fieldhouse for a 7:30 p.m. game.