By Karl Henkel/Wayne State Men's Beat Writer
As tough as losing a pair last weekend to Niagara was, Wayne State got back on track with a sweep of Alabama-Huntsville at the Taylor SportsPlex this weekend.
In the opener, Mike Forgie and Tylor Michel each scored and Jared Katz had two assists as the Warriors defeated the Chargers, 2-0.
Brett Bothwell made 15 saves for his first collegiate shutout, and also picked up an assist on Michel's second-period marker. Bothwell becomes just the second WSU goalie to record a helper, with David Guerrera doing it twice in 2002.
Bothwell was also helped by the play of his defense, which blocked nearly as many shots as Bothwell faced himself.
“They didn't have a lot (of opportunities),” head coach Bill Wilkinson said afterwards. “They hit the pipe once on the power play, but other than that, I thought the whole team defense was solid.”
The finale, however, wasn't as pretty as the opener.
Matt Krug slapped home a first-period power-play goal and Derek Punches scored two goals of his own with the man-advantage, giving Wayne State a 3-0 lead early in the third.
On a routine dump-in attempt by UAH's Matt Baxter, the puck caromed off the end boards in front of the net. Josh Murray tapped home a goal from just outside the crease.
Andrew Coburn and Kevin Morrison scored later in the period to send the game into overtime, 3-3.
With just 50 seconds left in the extra frame, a rebound off UAH goalie Cameron Talbot on a shot from Tyler Ruel found its way onto the stick of Chris Kushneriuk, who roofed it for his first collegiate goal.
Although satisfied with the sweep, nobody was thrilled with the third period. It was the third time in four games WSU had blown a lead in the final period.
“It's just a mental lapse,” Krug said of the collapse. “We are definitely in shape, that's not an issue for us, it's just for some reason, late in the game, we have a mental lapse.”
Wayne State (7-17-2, 3-7-0 CHA) hits the road for a pair of games against the Beavers of Bemidji State this weekend. The two split an earlier series at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum, with BSU taking game one, 3-1, and WSU getting even with a 5-2 win in game two. The Beavers currently sit atop the CHA standings, six points ahead of second-place Niagara.