By ERICK LEHMAN, Staff Reporter
The University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey team’s six game win streak came to an abrupt end this past weekend with two losses to the University of Buffalo.
On Friday night, the Wolverines were shutout for only the second time this season, dropping the game 2-0, after a late empty net goal from the Bulls.
Saturday night, however, looked of a different result, and the Wolverines we have seen of late showed up.
Less than five minutes into the game, Cody Staub buried a goal to give the Wolverines a quick lead.
That lead would hold for about 10 minutes and end up being the only lead the Wolverines would hold for the entire series. The Bulls scored two goals about a minute apart to take a 2-1 lead heading into the locker room for the first intermission.
Buffalo was able to score four goals on the night despite only registering 22 shots on net, clearly taking better shots.
“Credit to them [Buffalo], they buried every chance they got,” assistant head coach Chris Zarb said after the game.
Zarb filled in for head coach Chris Haltinner this weekend, who was out of town.
The Wolverines looked to be poised to make a late comeback in the third period as Mike Scarpello netted a goal with about six minutes remaining to cut the Buffalo lead down to one goal.
An untimely penalty and some poor passing lead to a late goal from the Bulls, all but sealing the series sweep of the hometown Wolverines.
“It was one of those weekends for us, the puck just wasn’t going our way,” Zarb said. “To outshoot a team 46-22, you don’t expect that to happen but their goalie played very well.”
A week after Wolverines goaltender Nate Ferris made 40 saves in an outstanding victory over Davenport, Buffalo skates out a goaltender who is able to save 44 shots.
“I thought we played fine, they had a hot goalie,” freshman forward Cody Staub said after the game. “Really, a couple bounces or the post shots we had, and it’s a completely different game.”
The Wolverines were outmatched physically in the contest, which made it a bit more difficult to keep bodies in front of the net to get a screen on the opposing goaltender.
“We need to work on getting gritty in front of the net, when you don’t get bodies in front of the net you don’t win hockey games,” Zarb said. “I thought we controlled the game both nights, just couldn’t bury our chances.”
Staub isn’t worried about the Wolverines after being swept by visiting Buffalo.
“We just need to get shots on net. Our play style is fine, our power play is fine,” Staub said.
The Wolverines had a hot streak coming into this series with six consecutive wins, most of which came against teams who have had the Wolverines number over the past few seasons. But the confidence level still remains high for this team.
“It’s unfortunate we took a step back, but we have four weeks to go and need to bounce back,” Zarb said. “If we find a level of consistency, we have a pretty good shot going into playoffs.”
“This is a little heartbreak, someone needs to lose, just was us this weekend, we can bounce back, looking forward to Oakland next week,” Staub added. “We aren’t at all worried.”