The Eastern Michigan Universiy Eagles Club Hockey team beat the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies 4-3 on Friday.
Junior defenseman and captain Jordan Roemer said he was optimistic and felt prepared going into Friday’s game, even though the EMU Eagles (5-6) lost to the Golden Grizzlies (6-5) 10-2 a week prior.
The Eagles took a three-goal lead early in the first period. Freshman forward Adam Pinkowski scored the game’s first goal and his first in college.
EMU junior forward Anthony Stankiewicz scored a shorthanded goal while Oakland was on a power play to give the Eagles a two-goal lead.
The Grizzlies managed to score two goals to end the period down by one.
“I thought we were good in the first 15 minutes of the period,” said EMU coach Kevin Gee.
“We have to continue to win battles along the boards on our end and create some offense. It’s always tougher in the second period.”
“These guys are dangerous,” Gee said to his players during the first intermission.
Oakland scored their second power play goal early in the second period to tie the game.
The second period was riddled with penalties for Eastern and Oakland. The Eagles had a total of 10 minutes of penalties that they were forced to kill off.
With eight minutes left in the period, the EMU defenders were outnumbered five to three. The Golden Grizzlies came away with no goals.
EMU senior forward Robert Gasser scored the game-winning goal with only 18 seconds left in the second period.
“They’re all doing a better job forechecking,” EMU spectator Tom Gunther said. “They’re doing a better job on defense as a team.”
EMU came out in the third period and held off the Golden Grizzlies for 20 minutes of play.
Eastern committed only two penalties during the third period.
With 25 seconds left in the game, the Grizzlies pulled their goalie giving them a sixth man on the ice. Eagles senior goalie Andrew Duff made a diving catch with three seconds left on the clock to stop the game-tying goal.
“We had a rough go against these guys last week,” Duff said. “It’s just huge to come out here and recover and get a win out of it. They’re pretty highly ranked, so it’s big for us.”
“We had lost five in a row coming into this game here,” Gee said. We’re in the middle of a tough 10-game stretch, and it was really important for us to play well in the new system.”
Gee said he thought his team took some risks with the penalties it committed.
“I didn’t think we were terrible in that department, but we gave up some power plays, and that’s never a good idea,” he said.
The Eagles had a total of 13 penalties giving the Grizzlies 26 minutes of power play. EMU’s penalty kill was 11 for 13. Oakland had only six penalties and EMU went zero for six on their power plays.
“They really bought into the system, and they were positive with their teammates,” Gee said.
“Their work ethic was there, which was critical. In this league you have to play sixty minutes to be successful. We were physical. We finished our checks all over the ice. A team like Oakland that has a lot of skill, you have to make sure you finish your checks and separate people from the puck, and they did that real well today.”
The Golden Grizzlies outshot the Eagles with 27 shots on goal, to EMU’s 24.
“We need to continue to get healthy,” Gee said. “We’ve still got some guys that are sick.”