DETROIT — Coming off Friday night’s 4-3 win over Alabama-Huntsville, Wayne State wanted to make it two in a row over last season’s regular-season College Hockey America champions at the Great Lakes Sports City.
The defending CHA tournament champs didn’t get a win, but the Warriors (6-8-2, 3-1-2 CHA) eked out a point with a 3-3 tie. Billy Collins scored a 6-on-4 power-play goal with 22 seconds left to gain the tie against the Chargers (10-8-0, 5-4-1 CHA).
“We played a better first period, but penalties kind of took the flow out of the game,” Wayne State head coach Bill Wilkinson said. “The second night is more tough than the first night because the team that lost wants to get a win, and the team that won lies back a bit. That didn’t happen tonight.”
Huntsville’s Karlis Zirnis got the visitors on the board 58 seconds in on a power play. Jared Ross took the initial shot and Zirnis crashed the net and knocked in the loose puck.
The Warriors evened it up late in the second period on a power play of their own. Co-captain Jason Durbin won a faceoff back to Tyler Kindle and Kindle blasted a shot that went all the way through and beat UAH netminder Adam MacLean over his glove.
Both teams skated out for the third period with seemingly renewed life. And it showed.
Wayne State’s Dusty Kingston parked in front of MacLean and chipped in a rebound at 3:32 on another WSU man-advantage. The Chargers answered just over three minutes later on yet another power play.
Jason Hawes tapped in a rolling puck during a scrum in front of WSU goalie David Guerrera at 6:49 to knot the game at two. Alabama-Huntsville then took the lead at 17:40 on a questionable call.
Zirnis fed the puck to a streaking Steve Milosevski at center ice and Milosevski went in on a clear-cut breakaway. He deked, but Guerrera stayed with him. Milosevski went five-hole on Guerrera and the puck trickled through the pads and bounced over the goal line to give UAH a 3-2 lead. WSU pulled Guerrera with just under a minute to go and Collins redirected a Durbin pass past MacLean at 19:38.
“It was a good battle tonight,” UAH head coach Doug Ross said. “It was like last night — it could have gone either way. Both goaltenders played great.”
Wilkinson saw the game as potentially a turning point to the Warriors’ season.
“Our power play finally started to click tonight,” he said. “I think we came out with a lot more burst. This game was a good character sign for us.”
The two teams meet again Dec. 28-29 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala.
“I think we stung them a bit here,” Wilkinson said. “But they’ll come out with more vengeance down there.”