UM-Flint Hockey Wraps Up Regular Season

The University of Michigan–Flint club hockey ended their regular season under somewhat unusual circumstances, but more of that later. After defeating the Ferris State Bulldogs, 4-3, the previous evening in their quest for a regional playoff berth, the Wolverines fell 6-4 on Saturday, Feb. 16 to a packed crowd.

After a scoreless first period, UM-Flint opened the scoring at 11:11 of the second period on a goal by Connor Houle with assists by Garrett Baumbach and Jared Coulter. At 18:20 Kamryn Houle gave the Wolverines a two-goal advantage. Assisting on the goal was Trevor Cope.  Ferris State cut the advantage to one with 27 seconds left on the clock.

UM-Flint regained a two-goal lead soon into the third period as Cope scored on a four on three play with Brandon Pirtie assisting. Ferris cut the lead to one later in the stanza.

The Wolverines dominated play until the halfway mark when their goalie was ejected from the game. It appeared that the Bulldogs’ player slew footed the Wolverines’ defenseman and the UM-Flint goalie came to his defense. Goalie Adam Bryant was assessed not only a five-minute slashing major but a ten-minute slashing game misconduct.

The initial play by the FSU player looked to have occurred directly in front of the referee. The adage seemed to play true that the initial aggressor was able to escape unscathed, while the retaliator was targeted for the penalty.

However, the intensity of the judgmental call could be put into question not only for its severity, but the booting of Bryant changed the momentum of a game that had playoff ramifications.

UM-Flint was forced to call on their backup goalie who had to come into the action cold. Such a situation is tough enough, but the major penalty allowed FSU to remain on the power play (with a four on four two-minute hiatus) for the complete five minutes.

The Bulldogs scored rapidly on a 4 on 4, then two further power play goals left the Wolverines down by two. UM-Flint battled back and sliced the lead to one at the 15-minute mark on Brian Knack’s tally. Pirtie and Cope gathered assists.

An open net goal by FSU ended the Wolverine comeback attempt and left the men in blue shaking their heads at what could have–probably should have–been.

Although UM-Flint fell short, Coach Kirk Allen was very impressed by the team’s grit.

“The game was played with very high intensity,” said Allen. “The team performed with a fantastic effort from all our players. The scoring was back and forth, and our guys just refused to quit.”

The team’s record dropped to 12-15-3. After the mid-season break, the Wolverines turned their season around and made a passionate run in an attempt to secure a regional playoff spot. The new ratings appear Thursday, which decide whether their effort was enough to secure a spot.

“In the regular season our team has performed above and beyond expectations,” said Allen.  “Their effort stemmed from passion and great leadership.”

The team will journey to the Arctic Edge in Canton this Friday to play Adrian College in the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference (MCHC) tournament. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m.

“We have an opportunity in front of us to do something that has never been accomplished by UM-Flint hockey,” said Allen. “That is, to win our league playoffs. We have a good shot as the squad has been building every week. The team looks forward to the challenge.”