FRISCO, Texas – The No. 2 University of Michigan-Dearborn men's ice hockey team advanced to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I National Tournament semifinals with a thrilling 6-4 win over No. 7 Davenport University Sunday at the Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas.
The Wolverines jumped out early with two goals in the first. After Davenport tied the game in the second, the teams traded goals the rest of the way. UM-Dearborn secured the win with two empty-net goals late to advance.
The win moves UM-Dearborn 30-3-1 this season.
"This was playoff hockey," UM-Dearborn Head Coach Chris Haltinner said. "We got some bounces and I am glad we had some puck luck tonight. Everyone on this team kept their cool the whole game and I am proud of the way we handled some adversity tonight."
The game also saw a 30-minute delay in the second period due to hazardous weather in the area.
Kevin Bechard got the Wolverines on the board early with a goal on an assist from Andrew Spiegel 3:18 into the game, followed by Tyler Groat's third of the tournament and first of the night later in the opening frame.
Davenport evened the score with two goals early in the second and killed off three UM-Dearborn power-play chances in the frame, including a 5-on-3 for 43 secs immediately after the delay.
The Wolverines wasted little time moving back in front in the third, as Kyle Schnettler netted his first of the tournament on a wrist-shot from the blue line to give the Wolverines a 3-2 lead just 37 seconds into the final period.
"Hodgson has been unbelievable in this tournament," Haltinner said. "He has come out and worked so hard, scoring the first goal of the tournament on Friday. I can't say enough about what he means to this team and what he has done to help us get to where we are."
Groat added an empty-net goal with 1:20 to play, but the Panthers made it interesting late, scoring with 51 seconds to go to make it a 5-4 lead for the Wolverines.
After a couple of scoring chances for Davenport, John Ames secured the win with an empty-net goal in the final seconds to send UM-Dearborn to the ACHA Division I semifinals.
Thomas Proudlock made 30 saves in net in the win for the Wolverines.
UM-Dearborn's opponent will be decided after the quarterfinals are complete and the tournament is reseeded. The semifinals will take place Monday at the Comerica Center. The Wolverines look to return to the championship game for the first time since the first ACHA National Tournament in 1991-92.