Oakland University traveled to Grand Rapids last weekend to compete in the GMHL league playoffs and came away with a second-place finish.
Oakland opened up Friday against the University of Michigan and advanced to the semi-finals with a 9-1 victory over the Wolverines as OU forward Will McMahon notched his league-leading 100th point in the game.
"The whole team played exceptionally well against U of M," Grizzlies' head coach Sean Hogan said. "We have said it all year, when everyone gets going we are a tough team to beat."
Saturday morning, OU took on Miami of Ohio. In what looked to be a cruise actually turned out to be a nail biter. Oakland took a 5-2 lead into the third period and looked to be in complete control when a few turnovers and costly penalties put Miami back in the game.
"You can never relax against a GMHL team," assistant coach Gordie Schaeffler said. "All the teams here are quality hockey teams that will fight to the end."
Miami tied the game up at six with under a minute to play to force an overtime period. After ten minutes of overtime, the Grizzlies were forced into their first shootout.
"I have never been involved in a shootout before," said assistant coach J.R. Dunn. "It is really quite exciting. I liked our chances with the shooters we picked."
OU goaltender Chris Joswiak had already stopped a penalty shot during the game and was up to the task during the shootout stopping all three Miami shots. Brent Cooper took the first shot for Oakland and was denied. McMahon took the second opportunity for OU and left no doubt as he buried the puck in the back of the Miami net. That would be all OU needed as Joswiak stifled the final Miami shooter to give the Grizzlies the victory and a birth in the GMHL final against Davenport.
After only a few hours rest, OU was ready to go. The game was 0-0 going into the second period when Davenport opened up the scoring to take a 1-0 lead. DU would make it 2-0 before McMahon scored for Oakland with just under five minutes remaining to cut the lead in half. OU took a time out with just about a minute remaining, but could not muster up any offense as Davenport would add an empty netter to take home a 3-1 victory and the GMHL crown.
However, next up is the national championship in Rochester, New York. The Grizzlies open up with GMHL rival Indiana University at 4:00 p.m. next Wednesday, March 8. OU is 2-0 this season against IU.