The UM-Dearborn Wolves’ tough schedule didn’t get any easier this weekend, as they had to take on the No. 8-ranked Davenport University Panthers. The Wolves entered the weekend having lost four straight games, and the losing continued with the Panthers. The Wolves dropped both contests to the Davenport by a wide margin; on Friday, the Wolves lost 6-3 at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Fieldhouse, before travelling to Patterson Ice arena Saturday only to lose 9-0.
It was the second time in as many weeks that the Wolves were held off the scoresheet.
UM-Dearborn were looking for a huge game from goaltender Josh Khan on Friday, as they were without two of their top defensemen. Junior Nick Crowley was diagnosed with a concussion last week, and senior Alex McDonnell both missed the home game.
The contest began with lots of play in the Wolves’ end, but Khan made numerous saves to keep the game scoreless. With sophomore Cody Longuski in the box for interference the Panthers finally beat Khan.
The Wolves found themselves down 2-0 late in the second period but caught an early break. Senior Brian Kassa skated into the offensive zone and fired a harmless wrist shot at goaltender Matt Kaludis that hit off his body and found the back of the net.
In the second period, the Panthers continued to dominate offensively, out-shooting the Wolves 17-9. Khan continued to stand tall for the home team, keeping it a one-goal game for a majority of the period. But a questionable call from the referees late in the middle frame ultimately ended the Wolves’ chances at tying it.
Junior Jase Paciocco skated into the offensive zone and was clearly tripped up but the penalty wasn’t called. Just a couple seconds later junior Chris Merrill rang a shot off the post and into the netting. On the ensuing face-off, Panther forward Andrew Frank took the puck in on a breakaway and beat Khan for a 3-1 lead.
Before the period came to an end, the Panthers scored again, rattling the Wolves and ending what little momentum they had.
The game ended after the Wolves received goals from top line wingers junior James Marchese and senior Rob Zubke to bring the game back to a respectable three-goal spread.
On Saturday, the game began and ended in the Panthers’ favor. With Khan between the pipes once again, and defenseman Alex McDonnell inserted into the line-up to replace an injured Chris Merrill, the Wolves were looking for some redemption.
The period had a very physical fast pace to it. The end-to-end action had both Khan and Phil Graveline standing tall in the crease. But once again questionable calls changed the aspect of the game. Marchese was hit with an elbow to the head in the corner but received no call. And just minutes later sophomore Kyle Horn was thrown out the game for a questionable facemask call after the whistle.
The Panthers scored off the ensuing power play to take a 1-0 lead. Khan once again stood tall without much help in front of him keeping it just a one-goal game heading into the second period.
The best chance for the Wolves came when Paciocco received an outlet pass with five seconds reaming and skated in on the breakaway. He shot the puck wide to the right just as the buzzer sounded and skated off the ice looking up to the rafters.
The Panthers wasted little time putting this game away. Early in the second period they took away all the momentum the Wolves built up at the end of the first period with two quick goals. A wrap-around goal from Stephen Flood just 39 seconds in made it 2-0. Just under a minute later a bad bounce found the back of the net to make it 3-0.
The Wolves were unable to generate any bit of offense the rest of the way. They played numerous forwards on the back-end due to the lack of blue-liners after Horn received a game misconduct.
The score was 5-0 with just over five minutes remaining but the Panthers didn’t take their foot of the gas pedal and showered Khan with four goals in just under three minutes to blow out the Wolves 9-0.
It was a tough weekend for the Wolves, who have just one day to rest before a rare Monday night game. Goaltender Josh Khan played strong both nights keeping the Wolves in the game but the offense was unable to back him up and both nights the Panthers ran up the score in the final period.
Monday night’s game will be played at the Allen Park Ice Arena against the Oakland University Grizzlies. Puck drop is schedule for 7 p.m.
Next weekend the Wolves will close out their regular season with a home-and-home against their rivals, the Eastern Michigan University Eagles.