By: Phillip Lutz, Sports Editor
The UM-Dearborn men’s hockey team played in the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL) playoff tournament on Feb. 22-24 at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.
The No. 8 Wolverines took on the No. 2 Adrian College Bulldogs in the championship game Saturday after defeating the Eastern Michigan Eagles 8-1 on Thursday night and the Davenport University Panthers 3-1 on Friday night.
The Wolverines played the Bulldogs a home and home series during the regular series and lost both contests. The Wolverines wanted to win the title for the third straight year but had to go through the Bulldogs to do it.
“It will be a really tough game, their coach Gary does a good job,” coach Chris Haltinner said about the Bulldogs. “My team, I feel, is a good team. It just depends on how we come out, I hope we can come out with some fire and put Adrian back on their heels.”
The game started fast with the Bulldogs skating fast and peppering junior Thomas Proudlock with pucks. It paid off early in the game as Chris Donaldson of the Bulldogs scored, making it 1-0. This was the first time during the tournament that the Wolverines were behind.
The Wolverines held for the rest of the first period but the shooting was very lopsided in favor of the Bulldogs 22-7.
The second period opened and the Bulldogs got another goal, this time by Jordan Oshowy and making it 2-0 early in the second period. The Wolverines responded with goals from junior Troy Saunders and freshman Billy Brock. The Saunders goal was assisted by junior Jared Dedenbach. Brock’s goal was beautiful as he took the puck around the net and shot as he emerged out of the traffic in front of the net. His goal was unassisted.
The Wolverines did something no one in the tournament had done to that point-score on the Bulldogs. This gave new life to the Wolverines and also made the Bulldogs sweat.
It was short lived though as the Bulldogs scored quickly, making the score 3-2. Joe Costello got the goal for the Bulldogs. The shooting margin also widened as Adrian had 45 shots through two periods compared to the 15 for the Wolverines.
The third period saw renewed strength for the Wolverines as junior Tyler Groat became a shooting machine. He had six shots on goal in the third period, finally putting one in the net and making it 3-3. The goal was assisted by junior captain Kevin Bechard and junior Justin Dunn.
Brad Kobryn of the Bulldogs responded quickly with a goal and made it 4-3 Adrian. This was the final score and the Bulldogs won the championship.
The Wolverines attributed the close score to their ability to stay in shooting and passing lanes and blocking shots. The final shot totals were Bulldogs 61 shots on goal to the Wolverines 21 shots on goal.
This was the final year for the Wolverines to play in the GLCHL and they may once again get their chance to take on the Adrian Bulldogs as both teams will be heading to Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.
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