DEARBORN, Mich. – The No. 2 University of Michigan-Dearborn men's ice hockey team is set for its fourth straight and 20th overall appearance at the ACHA Division I National Tournament starting Friday in Frisco, Texas.
Head Coach Chris Haltinner has orchestrated his best season yet as the Wolverines enter the tournament with an overall record of 28-3-1 and a regular season Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference title. The season included a 17-game winning streak, which came to an end in the championship game of the WHAC Postseason Tournament.
"This group has been here three times and they understand how intense and how competitive it is," Haltinner said. "They have put four hard years into this, and this year specifically, I think they know what it takes to win and they're going to put everything on the line to make happen."
UM-Dearborn has been ranked No. 2 since the first computer rankings were released early this season. The Wolverines enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed and will have a bye through the opening round. UM-Dearborn will take on No. 15 Oklahoma University in the round of 16 at 5 pm (CDT) Friday at the Comerica Center. Live links are available HERE. Oklahoma defeated No. 18 Drexel University in an opening round game 5-4 on Thursday.
The high-scoring Wolverines are averaging 5.91 goals per game, while the defense has allowed just 1.78. UM-Dearborn has been especially effective on the power play, scoring on 39.4 percent of their opportunities.
In his second season with the Wolverines, sophomore Billy Brock has scored 17 goals, 49 assists and a team-leading 66 points in just 28 games as the number one center on the team. Tyler Groat leads the Wolverines in goals with 42, including the 100th of his career earlier this season. Groat is the third-leading scorer in the ACHA and the highest of any student-athlete that will participate at the National Tournament.
"Groat and Brock are our top two scorers, and I expect them both to have a strong performance," Haltinner said about two-thirds of his top line. "But honestly, it's everybody. From our role players to our defense. It can't just be two or three guys, everyone needs to be on their game in order for us to succeed at nationals."
UM-Dearborn's senior class, which includes Groat, Troy Saunders, Andrew Spiegel, Tyler Dalton, John Barlow, Christian Ramage, and captain Kevin Bechard, is the first class under Haltinner to appear at National's for all four years.
Justin Dunn enters the tournament with 57 points, including 27 goals and 30 assists, while Spiegel has 21 goals and 30 assists for 51 points. Bechard has added 20 goals and 25 assists.
Thomas Proudlock has led UM-Dearborn in goal all season. The starting goaltender is 25-3-1, including a .933 save percentage and a 1.74 goals-against average.
About No. 15 Oklahoma
The Sooners enter the tournament with an 18-12-2 record overall, having lost its last two games of the season to Missouri State University three weeks ago. Goaltender Phil Babb has a .926 save percentage and a 14-10 record. OU's Josh Pusar, leads the Sooners with 22 points in 33 games.