Saturday, December 10, 2005
Wayne sweeps the "other" Warriors
The Wayne State Warriors (3-9-2) played a solid all around game and held off the Merrimack College Warriors (4-11-2) for a 3-2 win at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum on Friday night.
"As Yogi Berra said, it's never over until it’s over," said WSU head coach Bill Wlkinson after the game. "We had the 3-0 lead and then they come back with a power-play goal, then a mad scramble goal to put the screws a little tighter. I'm pleased though by the way we responded late, got the puck out, and kept our composure and didn’t allow them to get the third one.”
Wayne State forward Jason Bloomingburg opened the scoring as he skated in alone and beat Merrimack goalie Patrick Watson five-hole at 6:49 of the first period.
After a scoreless second, the Green and Gold Warriors made it a 2-0 lead when Jason Baclig (pictured) faked out a Merrimack defender with a pretty through-the-legs move and beat Watson on the short side at 3:50 of the third.
"Things are starting to turn around now," said Baclig. "We're starting to get some team confidence all the way from our goalies, through to the forwards. We're starting to work real hard and we're getting rewarded."
Wayne State chased Watson at 6:42 when Stavros Paskaris notched a 5-on-3 power-play goal. Paskaris banged the puck just over the line for his 4th goal in five games since returning from an injury.
After the goalie change and timeout, Merrimack came out rejuvenated with Matt Johnson scoring a pair of markers to make it a 3-2 game. Merrimack pulled back-up goalie Frank McLaughlin for the final minute of play, but couldn’t get another goal past WSU netminder Will Hooper.
Hooper finished the evening with 19 saves and his first win of the season.
Watson was saddled with the Merrimack loss after stopping 26 shots.
WSU concluded the night with a 1-9 power-play effort and held MC to a 1-6 night.
It was a game of momentum as the Wayne State Warriors grabbed a rare, two-game sweep as they clipped the Merrimack Warriors, 6-5, in overtime on Saturday night.
The sweep was WSU’s first on their home ice since taking two from the Canisius Golden Griffs at the Compuware Arena on Oct. 30 and 31 of last year.
Merrimack’s weekend superstar Matt Johnson started the scoring with a power-play goal at 4:02 of the opening period, but from there until the third period the game was dominated by Wayne State.
Mike Forgie started a WSU onslaught when he tied the game at 6:01. Then senior blueliner Steve Kovalchik netted his first of the season with a wrist shot from just inside the blueline on the power-play at 11:53 to give the Green and Gold a 2-1 lead.
The power-play barrage continued at 16:13 on the second when Jason Bloomingburg rifled a shot in up high for his fourth of the year.
Still up a man, Nate Higgins followed up with his team high fifth of the year 31-seconds later to make a 4-1 Wayne State lead.
Then Mark Nebus put the Wayne Warriors up by a seemingly unobtainable 4-goal lead when he recorded his third of the year, also on the power-play, at 18:23 of the third period.
The momentum shifted back quickly in the third with Merrimack outgunning Wayne 19-5 and ripping off four straight goals to tie the game at 5-5.
Bryan Schmidt started the swing at 4:10. Johnson added his second of the night and fourth of the weekend on the power-play at 8:02. John Goebel scored 26 seconds later to make it a one goal game. Then at 17:44, Goebel added his second of the night to send the game into overtime.
Merrimack looked to have the edge again in overtime as they held a 4-1 shooting edge into the final seconds of the game.
Wayne State used their speed to their advantage though as Jason Baclig picked off an errant Merrimack pass and flew into the MC zone. Baclig fired a pass to a waiting Forgie on the right side of the net who banged in a one-timer for the win and Wayne’s first regulation overtime game winner since January 11, 2003.
Matt Kelly started the game in net for Wayne and turned aside 29 shots for his second win of the year.
Merrimack played every goalie on their roster, giving each about 20 minutes between the pipes.
Frank McLaughlin started and stopped 7 of 9. Jim Healey suited up in the second and steered away 9 of 12 shots. Friday’s starter Patrick Watson, returned in the third period and overtime on Saturday and took the loss after stopping 7 of 8.
With four straight extra-man goals, Wayne State finished the night with a 4 for 11 power-play effort. Merrimack went 2 for 9 on the night.
The Warriors will take the next two weeks off for finals and will resume action in the 2005 Badger Showdown on Dec. 30-31 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. The Warriors will battle in state rival Northern Michigan in the first semifinal, while the host Badgers play Western Michigan in the Dec. 30 nightcap. Wayne State's Dec. 30 game can be heard on WDTK (1400AM) or via the Internet at wdtkam.com.