Wolverines record losses against Vermont and Dartmouth
In a matter of seconds, Dartmouth forward Troy Crema determined the outcome of a game that has now been recorded as the No. 11 Michigan hockey team’s third loss this year.
With only 49 seconds left in the third period and the game knotted up, 2-2, Crema slipped the puck past freshman goaltender Jack LaFontaine off an assist from Corey Kalk and Carl Hesler. The deficit proved to be insurmountable for the Wolverines, who finalized the weekend by tacking on two losses for a 3-3-1 overall season record.
Their first loss came at the hands of Vermont on Friday in a shutout, 3-0. The Catamounts started the game early with a goal 22 seconds into the first period, and another at the 10:36 mark. And even though freshman goaltender Hayden Lavigne recorded 39 saves, he couldn’t stop the final power-play goal of the night by Vermont’s Rob Hamilton that pushed the Catamounts to a 3-0 lead.
Michigan recorded eight penalties for the night and was doubled up in shots, managing just 21 against Vermont’s 42. While the Wolverines managed to close the gap to 35-24 in their match Saturday against the Big Green, it still wasn’t enough to put them ahead.
“You could tell they were excited — this was their hometown and they were really physical right off the bat,” said senior forward Alex Kile. “You could tell that they wanted to win. It was evident really quickly. I think the main thing was they tried to use their physicality and create turnovers.”
Initially kicking the game off on the right foot, freshman forward Adam Winborg scored the first goal of the game — and in his career — 17 minutes into the first period. The power-play goal came off of assists from Kile and junior defenseman Sam Piazza to put Michigan ahead, 1-0.
However, Dartmouth took over the second period with goals from Kevin Neiley and Cam Strong. The Wolverines also recorded three of their five penalties in this period, two of which occurred at the same time. Kile and senior forward Max Shuart both landed in the penalty box at the 12:43 mark for charging and boarding, respectively. This resulted in two minutes of play with the Big Green possessing a two-man advantage, 5-3.
However, Michigan managed to kill off both penalties without a goal, and at the 10:33 mark in the third period, Kile tied up the game after corralling a loose puck and shooting it past Dartmouth goaltender Devin Buffalo.
But Kile’s goal did only that — tie up the game. And with no retaliation to Crema’s goal in the final minute, the Wolverines were sentenced to their second loss of the weekend.
“We need to learn how to close out the game,” Kile said. “We’ve kinda (blown) games in the third period all season long and that’s got to stop. I thought we actually played pretty well tonight, we were pretty physical and we played the game, but we just didn’t close it out how we wanted to.”