PLYMOUTH, Mich. — After scoring just two goals in their previous three games, all losses, the Union Dutchmen (8-8-1, 6-2 ECAC) appeared to be having trouble finding the net.
You wouldn’t have guessed it if you saw Friday’s game as the Dutchmen scored five unanswered goals and flew past the Wayne State Warriors, 5-1, at the Compuware Arena.
The win was a confidence boost; the Dutchmen won just their second non-conference game in nine tries this season.
“They came out with a lot of jump and really caught us by surprise,” said Union coach Nate Leaman. “Our team adjusted well after the first period though and we were fortunate enough to get a few on the power play. The guys really responded well and we scored on our opportunities. That was the difference in the game.”
After a fast start, Wayne State (9-7-1, 3-2-1 CHA) finally broke the ice at 19:50 of the first period, scoring on the power play to take a 1-0 lead to the locker room. Freshman winger Tylor Michel took a quick feed from blueliner Steve Kovalchik on top on the left circle and rang it in off the post for his fifth goal of the season.
Michel, though, countered that goal by helping Union tie the game at 6:13 of the second period — not that the Dutchmen needed much help as they outgunned the Warriors 19-3 in the middle 20.
With Stavros Paskaris already going off for slashing, Michel received an unsportsmanlike conduct call giving the Dutchmen a 5-on-3 advantage. Just seconds later, Olivier Bouchard made the Warriors pay by slapping the puck out of the air and past Wayne State goalie Matt Kelly to tie the score at 1.
The Dutchmen took the lead at 13:57 when a sliding Jason Visser knocked an ice-level backhander into the far side of the net for his first of the year and the eventual game winner.
“It’s been a while, so it was real nice to get that,” said Visser. “We started doing all the little things right tonight and we all seemed to be on the same page. We know we’ll be in for a fight again tomorrow, though.”
Less than a minute after Visser’s goal, Jonathan Poirier went upstairs from the right circle and beat Kelly to make it a 3-1 Union lead.
Poirier added his second of the period at 16:37 when he converted a Joel Beal pass on the power play and fired a one-timer in for his seventh marker of the season and a 4-1 Union lead. For Beal it was his third assist of the evening.
Defenseman Michael Beynon iced the game with his first goal of the year at 4:41 of the third period as the Dutchmen snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Dutchmen outshot the Warriors 32-8 in the final 40 minutes.
“We didn’t compete as hard as we needed to,” said Warriors coach Bill Wilkinson. “We never really got our feet going and then in the second, the penalties took over again. That made it difficult for us to get into a flow. Give Union credit, though. They’re a good team and they really capitalized on our mistakes.”
Freshman Justin Mrazek didn’t see a lot of action in the net for the Garnet and White, but stopped 14 of 15 shots to move his personal record to 4-4-1. Kelly stopped 33 of 38 shots in the Warrior loss.
The Warriors and Dutchmen will conclude their two-game bill with a 3:05 P.M. matinee faceoff back at Compuware on Saturday afternoon.