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Dunn Deal: Wolverines open season with 4-1 win over No. 18 Niagara

Dunn Deal: Wolverines open season with 4-1 win over No. 18 Niagara

DEARBORN, Mich. - The 2016-17 University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey season officially got underway with the No. 12 Wolverines topping No. 18 Niagara University 4-1 in the first of a weekend series at the UM-Dearborn Ice Arena Friday in Dearborn, Mich.

The Wolverines got on the board in the first two minutes on a power-play goal from forward Andrew Palushaj (JR/Livonia, Mich.), but the Purple Eagles answered right back less than 30 seconds later to tie the game at 1-1. From there is was all UM-Dearborn as Justin Dunn (FR/Trenton, Mich.) and Tyler Dalton (SO/Northfield, Ohio) each scored a goal in the second period as the intensity picked up from the Wolverines. Dunn secured the win with his second tally midway through the third to put UM-Dearborn up 4-1.

"You prepare all summer for the season, but you don't know what the product is going to be like until you put all together in a game," UM-Dearborn hockey coach Chris Haltinner said. "Overall I am very pleased with the performance from our guys tonight."

The game seemed to take a turn towards Niagara late in the first when the Purple Eagles went on a 5-minute power play to close the period. Niagara failed to take advantage and UM-Dearborn had all the momentum heading into the second. Dunn scored his first-career Wolverine goal on assists from Andrew Spiegel (SO/Riverview, Mich.) and John Barlow (SO/Shelby Twp, Mich.), while Dalton's goal was aided by helpers from Palushaj and Marcus McSweeney (JR/Chandler, Ariz.).

Dunn salted the game away in the third with a goal on assists from Kris Wilson (SO/Trenton, Mich.) and Tyler Groat (SO/Wyandotte, Mich.). The Wolverines outshot the Purple Eagles 50-21.

Goaltender Nate Ferris picked up the win, making 20 saves and closing the door on the Purple Eagles for the last 57 minutes of play.

The Wolverines (1-0) and Purple Eagles (1-1) are right back at it at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the UM-Dearborn Ice Arena.

"The first night sets the bar for the second night," Haltinner said. "They (Niagara) are going to come out firing 100-miles per hour tomorrow night and we need to weather the storm. If we can keep playing our game we are going to be okay."