By JACK VANASSCHE, Editor in Chief
The No. 7 University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey team opened its season over the weekend with a split at No. 10 Robert Morris University– Illinois. The Wolverines took game one by a score of 5-4, but dropped Sunday’s game, 2-1.
Robert Morris was seeking revenge on Saturday’s opener after the Wolverines eliminated the Eagles in the national tournament a few months ago.
In a back-and-forth battle, the Wolverines scored two late goals to complete a comeback victory. New captain Kevin Bechard netted the game-winning goal in the third period.
The Eagles opened the game by taking a 1-0 lead off a controversial goal from junior transfer Sam Turner. Turner’s shot trickled into the net just as the goalposts were knocked off their bearings, but the officials signaled a good goal.
But less than two minutes later, sophomore Justin Dunn tied the game at 1-1 with the first UM-Dearborn goal of the season.
Junior transfer Jared Dedenbach netted his first career goal later in the first period to put the Wolverines up 2-1. Dedenbach previously played at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, an NCAA DIII team.
Turner tied the game at 2-2 with his second goal of the night before the first intermission.
After senior Andrew Palushaj put the Wolverines ahead in the second period, Dan Doyle and Ryan Martin of RMU rattled off two consecutive goals of their own to take a 4-3 lead.
Junior forward Tyler Groat evened the score at 4-4 with a powerplay goal as he slapped home a one-timer with just 14 seconds remaining in the second period.
Bechard’s game-winning goal in the third period came on a powerplay after RMU was called for having too many men on the ice.
The Wolverines held a lead in Sunday’s game into the third period, but the Eagles were able to beat goaltender Thomas Proudlock twice in the final 10 minutes of the game to earn the series split.
Proudlock was peppered with shots on Sunday, but stood tall in net to keep the Wolverines ahead for much of the contest.
Robert Morris-Illinois went on four consecutive power plays in the second period, but the Wolverines were strong on the penalty kill, leading to a shorthanded goal from Dunn.
The 1-0 lead held for the Wolverines until RMU’s Brett Leppek scored a powerplay goal in the middle of the third period to tie the game.
The Eagles went ahead for good late in the third when Connor McGovern’s long shot found a hole under a screened Proudlock for the game winner.
UM-Dearborn will open its home portion of the schedule on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against Lawrence Technological University followed by a home game against Davenport on Friday.