The Wayne State University men’s hockey team (2-9-2) recorded its second consecutive one-goal Friday night victory with a 3-2 triumph over visiting Merrimack College (4-9-2) at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum Friday evening.
After a scoreless first period, WSU junior left wing Jason Bloomingburg scored on a mini breakaway by deking MC goalie Patrick Watson and going through the five hole with a backhand shot. Freshman defenseman Matt Krug earned the lone assist on Bloomingburg’s third of the campaign. Krug’s pass from the defensive zone hit the skate of Merrimack’s Rob LaLonde and caromed directly to Bloomingburg at the offensive blue line. Bloomingburg has scored in two straight games after scoring once in the first 11 contests of the season.
Despite outshooting the visiting Warriors 22-12 in the first 40 minutes, the host Warriors led just 1-0.
Junior wing Jason Baclig increased WSU’s lead to 2-0 3:50 into the third period. Baclig’s second goal and fifth point in his last four games came after senior defenseman Steve Kovalchik banged the puck off the boards from the defensive zone and freshman forward Derek Punches deflects the puck to Baclig at the offensive blueline. Baclig skates in, makes a move on the MC defenseman and scores short side on Watson.
Warrior sophomore center Stavros Paskaris banged in a rebound after Watson stopped Kovalchik’s blueline blast at the 6:42 mark. The game-winning goal started after Paskaris won an offensive zone face-off, during a five-on-three Wayne State power play, back to Nate Higgins at the left point, Higgins passed to Kovalchik at the high slot setting up Paskaris rebound goal. Paskaris has four goals in five games since returning from an injury including a goal in career-best tying three consecutive games. Higgins also set a personal best with an assist in three straight contests.
Merrimack ruined WSU netminder Will Hooper’s shutout bid when Matt Johnson scored on the doorstep during a five-on-three power play with 8:52 remaining in the third period.
MC pulled within a goal with 79 seconds left as Johnson scored after Ryan Sullivan’s blue line shot was blocked. Merrimack pulled back-up goalie Frank McLaughlin for the final 57 seconds but were unable to light the lamp for the third time in the frame.
Hooper finished with 19 saves, while Watson stopped 26 Wayne State shots. McLaughlin did not make any saves as WSU managed just three shot attempts in the final 12:21.
Wayne State scored one power-play goal in nine chances, with Merrimack tallying one man-advantage marker in six chances.
The teams conclude the weekend set with a 7:05 p.m. face-off on Saturday at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.