DEARBORN, Mich. - The No. 14 University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey team scored four times in the third period to rally past No. 18 University of Illinois on Homecoming Night Friday at the UM-Dearborn Ice Arena.
The Wolverines got a hat-trick from Tyler Groat (SO/Wyandotte, Mich.) and a game winner with 5:36 to play from Andrew Palushaj (JR/Livonia, Mich.) to defeat the Fighting Illini 6-4, breaking a four-game losing streak. The win moves UM-Dearborn to 3-4 on the season.
Gino Darin (SR/Allen Park Mich.) got the night started strong for the Wolverines with a goal just 2:18 into the first period on a feed from Nate Merchak (JR/Southgate, Mich.) and Tyler Dalton (SO/Northfield, Ohio), but Illinois scored three unanswered to lead 3-1 early in the second. UM-Dearborn cut the deficit in half on Groat's first goal with 7:46 remaining in the second to send the Wolverines into the second intermission with momentum.
Less than two minutes into the third, Ben McPartlin (FR/Trenton, Mich.) threw the puck at the net from the blue line and it found its way past the Illini netminder to draw the Wolverines even. After Illinois scored to regain the lead, UM-Dearborn tied it a second time when Groat finished off a puck sitting in the crease after Jeff McFarland (JR/Grosse Ile, Mich.) made a strong move to the Illini net.
Palushaj's game winner came on a tough-angle shot that found its way top shelf, putting the Wolverines in front for the first time since early in the contest. Groat gave his team a two-goal cushion with two minutes to play and the Wolverines held on for the win. Groat now has a team-high seven goals this season.
McFarland finished with three assists, while Merchak, Dalton, Justin Dunn (FR/Trenton, Mich.), Marcus McSweeney (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) and Andrew Spiegel (SO/Riverview, Mich.) each added one. Nathan Ferris made 22 saves in the win as the Wolverines outshot the Illini 48-26.
The two teams are right back on the ice in game two at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the UM-Dearborn Ice Arena. The game will cap off Alumni Appreciation Day at the Fieldhouse.