The Wolverines were cruising to an easy victory over Division III Ohio Wesleyan with a 10-2 lead going into the fourth quarter Friday at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. But after a series of four Michigan penalties in a span of less than six minutes, the Wolverines gave up seven straight goals before scoring two of their own and winning 12-9.

The trouble started when the Fighting Bishops scored a man–up goal with 12:01 remaining in the game. It only got worse for Michigan as the Wolverines gave up a needless penalty to extend Ohio Wesleyan’s man advantage another minute.

“The team got frustrated,” senior defenseman Bob Diehl said. “It was almost three straight minutes of penalties we were playing man down, and for that reason, people started trying to play outside of themselves, and for that reason it got hectic.”

Then, Michigan quickly gave up another goal only 13 seconds after killing off the penalty. For the first time the entire game, the Ohio Wesleyan bench showed signs of life, and an ominous quiet enveloped Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.

The Wolverines struggled to get the ball out of their half after the faceoff and paid for it when the Fighting Bishops netted another two goals and cut the lead down to 10-7 with just over nine minutes to play.

“We just started playing undisciplined,” Michigan coach John Paul said. “(I’m) a little bit disappointed that we got a little bit flustered. We started to try to press a little bit – we were getting way too many penalties, we were playing out of control. As we were telling the guys on the sidelines, the quickest way to let another team into a game, no matter who they are, is dumb penalties and that’s what we were doing.”

Michigan did just that, and after another man-up goal for Ohio Wesleyan with 7:39 to play, the Wolverines’ lead was down to one and for the first time all preseason, Michigan looked vulnerable.

Luckily for the Wolverines, the Fighting Bishops took a one-minute slashing penalty and with 6:32 to play, last season’s MCLA player of the year, junior attackman Trevor Yealy, scored his fifth goal of the contest and halted the Ohio Wesleyan run. Another goal from Yealy with just under four minutes to play settled the game, and Michigan was able to comfortably hold on to its lead for the duration of the game.

Despite allowing Ohio Wesleyan back into the game, there were some bright spots for the Wolverines. The special-teams play was fairly solid as the man-up unit was able to score on both of its opportunities and the man-down was solid on four of six penalty kills.

Michigan also had another cause to celebrate as much-heralded freshman attackman Thomas Paras netted three goals in his first-ever game as a Wolverine.

“Thomas is going to be a really, really special player — he already is,” Paul said. “He’s been out because he’s been hurt, so now that he’s getting healthy, people are going to start seeing what he can do. Once our attack gets healthy, it’s going to be a really special unit. First time you get to see Paras and that’s what he can do.”

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