ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Different night, same story.
For the second straight night, the line of Andrew Ebbett, Brandon Kaleniecki and Jason Bailey led No. 7 Michigan to victory over Nebraska-Omaha. While Ebbett and Kaleniecki each had three points Friday night, it was Bailey’s turn to score, notching two goals for the Wolverines in a 7-3 win over the Mavericks at Yost Ice Arena.
Coach Red Berenson put the Ebbett-Kaleniecki-Bailey line together this week to face the Marvericks’s top line of Scott Parse, Bryan Marshall and Bill Thomas. At the end of the weekend, Michigan’s line outscored Parse-Marshall-Thomas 13 points to three.
“They played them head-to-head,” Berenson said. “And when the smoke cleared, Ebbett, Kaleniecki and Bailey had two goals. That’s a pretty good weekend for a so-called checking line. That spearheaded our team.”
Bailey’s three-point night more than doubled his season total of two prior to the contest. Ebbett extended his point streak to five games, while Kaleniecki has tallied points in three straight games.
“I’m not gonna kid anyone here; we got lucky on a couple of them,” Kaleniecki said. “It’s funny how things work-when you’re checking well, doing what you’re supposed to do, the puck starts bouncing your way. And that’s what happened this weekend.”
The Mavericks struck blood first for the second straight night, with Parse scoring two minutes into the game. But it was dj vu for the Mavericks, who saw Kaleniecki erase their early lead yet again. Soaring down the right wing on a two-on-one, Kaleniecki sent a blistering shot that knicked the crossbar and dropped behind goaltender Jerad Kaufmann.
“I just came down the wing,” Kaleniecki said. “I think it was (Andrew) Cogliano on my other hand, but I’m not much of a passer, so I shot it.”
The teams traded goals midway through the period. Thomas stole the puck from Jack Johnson in the slot and beat Billy Sauer, five-hole. Kevin Porter replied a minute later, beating Kaufmann over the blocker.
But the back-breaker for the Mavericks came with the seconds ticking off at the end of the first. From behind the left goal post, Bailey sent the puck toward the net. The shot hit a Maverick defender’s skate and bounced past Kaufmann.
“Our defenseman had his stick slashed out of his hand and the puck went right to their player,” Nebraska-Omaha coach Mike Kemp said. “And then it went right to the front of the net, off our defenseman and in. That was a huge turning point. All of sudden instead of being tied at the end of one, it’s a 3-2 game.”
Michigan really started to pour on the offense in the second, scoring four straight goals.
Early in the second, Cogliano cut through the middle and caught Kaufmann sliding the opposite way. Cogliano beat him cleanly on the glove side.
The goal prompted Kemp to pull Kaufmann in favor of Greg Barrett.
The Ebbett-Kaleniecki-Bailey line connected again to widen Michigan’s lead to three. Bailey feathered a pass to Ebbett in the high slot. Ebbett hesitated, and then picked a spot stick side past Barrett.
But Michigan didn’t put the game entirely out of reach until late in the second period. Maverick Kaleb Betts hit Johnson on the head into the boards, and then crosschecked Bailey on his way to the dressing room. Those two plays earned Betts a major penalty for checking from behind and a minor for crosschecking, giving Michigan a seven-minute power play.
Michigan put the game away on the advantage, scoring two goals. Johnson scored three minutes into the power play, and then Bailey added his second goal of the night 30 seconds later.
Bailey used his skate to redirect Jason Dest’s point shot by Barrett. Barrett waved his arms emphatically after the goal, signaling that Bailey had kicked the puck. The review was lengthy, but the video replay judge concluded that Bailey did not intentionally kick the puck in the net, and the goal stood to put the score at 7-2.
Thomas finalized the score with his second of night on a Maverick five-on-three in the third.
But the story near the end of the game didn’t appear on the scoreboard. In a span of five minutes, referee Steve Piotrowski dished out a game misconduct and two disqualifications for plays after the whistle.
Johnson was sent off for punching a Maverick in the face. Michigan’s David Rohlfs and Nebraska-Omaha’s Dan Knapp were both given disqualifications for fighting. Although the two players wrestled to the ground without the gloves ever coming off, Piotrowski sent both players off for fighting.
“I think that was the ref just getting frustrated with us, not keeping our cool,” Ebbett said. “It’s hard to get a fighting major in college when you still have your gloves on. I was a little confused about that.”
The disqualification has even bigger implications for Michigan’s upcoming games in the Great Lakes Invitational. Michigan will be without defensemen Johnson and Mark Mitera, who will both play for the United States at the World Junior Championship. Now, defenseman Rohlfs will also be out for Michigan’s first game against No. 4 Colorado College.