DETROIT — Nine times.
Famous words uttered by the Jeffrey Jones character Edward Rooney in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” must also be heard in the Niagara locker room. It’s because Rooney couldn’t catch Ferris Bueller in the act of ditching class and because Niagara couldn’t find a way to beat Wayne State. Nine times the Purple Eagles have fallen to the Warriors over the past two years in College Hockey America play.
Wayne State closed out its regular season by sticking to basics and defeating NU, 3-1. The Warriors (19-11-4, 15-2-3 CHA) scored three unanswered goals in the second period in a span of three-and-a-half minutes to take the win. David Guerrera stopped 28 shots for his 17th victory of the season in net. Rob Bonk made 22 saves for the Purple Eagles (17-16-1, 8-10-1 CHA).
“We came out a bit tentative in the first period,” Wayne State head coach Bill Wilkinson said. “But then we came out and played aggressively in the second. We were also patient and waited for opportunities to open up.”
Mikko Miettinen staked Niagara to a 1-0 lead 7:30 into the game. On a power play, Shane Baylis poked the puck over to Miettinen at the left point and he wired a shot that dinged the cross bar and dropped past Guerrera. It was Miettinen’s first goal of the year.
Nathan Rosychuk tied the game for the home team at the 12:01 mark of the second period with a highlight-reel tally. Rosychuk went almost 200 feet, around two Purple Eagles defenders and beat Bonk five-hole with a soft snapper from the bottom of the right faceoff dot. Rosychuk’s 11th goal this year seemed to sap any momentum NU may have had and the Warriors capitalized.
Brent Renfrew notched his fourth goal of the year at 12:41. Niagara was unable to clear the puck in front of Bonk and Renfrew grabbed a loose puck and walked in on Bonk from in tight.
John Grubb added a power-play snipe at 15:31 to seal the win for WSU. Bonk made the initial stop on Jon Brink, but the rebound came right to Grubb who tapped it into the open cage for his 10th goal.
“Rosychuk started it for us and Grubb ended it,” said Wilkinson. “Two freshmen that will be go-to guys in the future have really stepped up the past few weeks.”
The third period was scoreless.
“Up 1-0 we were looking for the second one to bust it open,” NU head coach Dave Burkholder said. “Then they go down and score and built on that.
“Aside from the deflection goal last night [by Hannu Karru], we haven’t had a forward score a goal in three games. We’re in a funk offensively. But if we need to win three games in three nights at the tournament, that’s our plan.”
Wilkinson said his squad has other thoughts.
“The tournament is a one-game deal and you never know what can happen,” he said. “We just have to continue to play solid defensive hockey and hope our best is good enough.”