The No. 2 UM-Dearborn men’s ice hockey team took to the ice Saturday in their first game of the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I Nationals Tournament against No. 15 Oklahoma in Frisco, Texas.
This was the Wolverines first game of the tournament and it took place in the round of 16. The Wolverines got on the board first as sophomore forward Michael Hodgson scored at 8:46 of the first period assisted by senior forward Tyler Dalton and senior defenseman Troy Saunders.
The teams were skating hard but the Wolverines were denied several times on good shots stopped by the Sooners goalie. The shots were Wolverines 10 Sooners 8 through one period.
The Sooners got on the board in the second period as Paolo De Sousa scored at 8:21 to tie the game at 1-1. The Wolverines then found their groove and turned up the scoring.
Senior forward Andrew Spiegel scored on a wrist shot between the Sooner goalkeepers legs to make it 2-1 at 9:45 assisted by junior forward justin Dunn and senior forward and captain Kevin Bechard.
At 14:43 of the second period, senior forward Tyler Groat got a power play goal to push the Wolverines lead to 3-1 assisted by Bechard and sophomore forward Billy Brock. The shots on goal in the second period were now Wolverines 16 Sooners 15.
The third period was all Wolverines.
Groat got his second of the night at 6:21 with another power play goal assisted by Bechard and Brock. Freshman forward Sterling Cooper then got his first of the tournament to push the Wolverines lead to 5-1. The goal was assisted by sophomore defenseman John Ames and sophomore forward Silas Johnson.
Hodgson got the final goal of the night at 17:21 to give the Wolverines the decisive win over the Sooners. The goal was assisted by senior forward john Barlow.
The Wolverines won the shots on goal battle 43-28 and capitalized on 2 of 3 of their power plays. The Sooners did not capitalize on their only power play in the first period.
Sooner goalie Phil Babb made 35 saves in his 57:21 minutes of work and recorded the loss. Tyler Huberty made both saves in goal for the Sooners in his 2:39 minutes of work.
Junior goalie Thomas Proudlock made 27 saves in the game and recorded the win.
The Wolverines advanced to the next round to play Sunday at 5pm Central time against the No. 7 Davenport University. These teams are no strangers to one another and split their regular season games in very close games. December 14th Davenport won 3-2. December 15th the Wolverines won 4-2. Now they met in the quarter finals.
The game started with both teams giving it their all like you would expect from teams making it to this part of the tournament. The Wolverines found a way to strike first though.
Bechard kept his hot streak going this time with the first goal of the night at 3:18 of the first period. The goal was assisted by Spiegel. 1-0 Wolverines early on.
Groat added a goal late in the first period at 14:46 to put the Wolverines up 2-0 despite three penalties against them. The goal was assisted by Brock. Both teams had 12 shots on goal in the first period and this game was rolling like the previous two they played this season. It would definitely be the tie breaker one way or another.
The second period was all Davenport as they added a goal at 2:27 by Wade Weisgerber to bring them within one. They did tie it up minutes later at 5:57 on a power play goal by Tyler Layle unassisted. It was all even again and a fresh new game.
Midway through the second period play was stopped and the arena was evacuated to the basement shelter as the tornado sirens started sounding in the distance. This was not the first time play had to be stopped during the tournament but the first for these teams. Several times teams had to be sent to the locker rooms for glass issues of one sort or another, a power outage, and even the zamboni breaking down. It was a weird thing to watch as the Twitter feed from the ACHA kept everyone up to date on the issues all tournament long.
Play finally resumed, with the Wolverines having a 5 on 3 advantage for less than a minute to no avail. As the score remained tied after two periods. Both teams had 13 shots on goal in the second period.
The third period would be the final outcome of this game and the end for one of the teams seasons.
The Wolverines emphatically said they wanted to stay as they added a goal at 37 seconds into the third period from junior defenseman Kyle Schnettler. It was assisted by Groat and Brock. 3-2 Wolverines.
Davenport answered back scoring at 6:31 with a goal from Layle evening it up again at 3-3. It would not last long.
Hodgson added a goal at 8:53 to put the Wolverines in front again where they would remain for the rest of the game. The goal was assisted by Dalton and freshman defenseman Nick Azarovitz.
With minutes to go in the game, Davenport pulled their goalie to go all out for the tie or win. Groat would not have any of this as he got a short handed unassisted empty net goal at 18:40. 5-3 Wolverines.
Davenport still with a man advantage got a goal at 19:08 by Austin Thompson closing the gap to 5-4 with less than a minute to go and a man advantage with the power play and the goalie on the bench. It was not meant to be though as sophomore defenseman John Ames got an empty net goal at 19:49 to seal the game and break the spirits of the Davenport team.
The final was 6-4 in a very well played game by both teams. After the game was over the UM-Dearborn Men’s Ice Hockey Twitter said “Hey, @DU_DIHockey! You played a fantastic game tonight! Get home safe & we’ll seeya next season!”
The shots for the game were won by the Wolverines 41 to 34. Davenport goalie Jason Rhynold made 35 saves in the game.
Proudlock stood tall once again making 30 saves in the game helping his team advance to the semifinals Monday night against the No. 5 Iowa State team at 5pm Eastern Standard Time.
The Wolverines were led by Groat who had two goals and an assist. Brock also had two assists in the game.
The Iowa State Cyclones are not a team to take lightly as they previously beat the Ohio University Bobcats 3-2. It will definitely be a game to watch closely on Twitter at the ACHA Men’s D1 like I am doing all tournament long or on the UM-Dearborn Men’s Ice Hockey Twitter as well.