Hockey: No. 4 Michigan overpowers BGSU

It was senior night tonight in Ann Arbor with the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines taking the ice versus the Bowling Green State University Falcons in a final tune up before the Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament. Two goals by freshman Chad Kolarik netted two goals for the Wolverines en route to a 5-3 Wolverine victory.

Like last night, the Wolverines Andrew Ebbett opened up the nights scoring. While on their first power play of the night, Ebbett found an open patch of ice just to the left of Falcon goalie Jon Horrell and slammed home a cross-ice pass from Jeff Tambellini.

Bowling Green State answered with a goal of their own at 15:09 to tie the score 1-1. Rich Meloche easily beat Wolverine net minder Al Montoya on a rebound off a shot from the point.

Wolverine defenseman Matt Hunwick would provide the only other scoring opportunity of the first period with just under two minutes on the clock. Hunwick stepped out of the penalty box just in time to find a loose puck in the neutral zone. With no defenders in front of him, Hunwick flew down the ice into the Falcon zone and sent a hard shot towards the top right corner of the net. Horrell calmly gloved the puck and the first period came to a close.

Chad Kolarik put Michigan back on top 2-1 with his first goal of the contest just over two minutes into the second period. With a one man advantage Michigan's leading scorer, T.J. Hensick, cycled the puck around the Falcon net from left to right. As he approached the goaline to the right of Horrell, Hensick quickly snapped the puck across the ice to Kolarik in the left circle. Kolarik easily flung the puck into the open net to put Michigan back in the lead.

Milan Gajic increased the Wolverines lead to 3-1 at 10:57 of the second period, scoring the Wolverines third power play goal of the night. Gajic beat Horrell from just inside the slot after waiting for Horrell to commit towards one area of the net and then flinging the puck over his shoulder.

At that point though, the momentum appeared to shift back towards BGSU. The Falcons rallied for the remainder of the period to tie the score 3-3 with two power play goals of their own beating Montoya first at the 14:32 mark from just inside the slot and for the second time at 17:13, capitalizing on a three-on-two odd man rush.

In the third period, Jeff Tambellini put the Wolverines back on top with his second goal of the weekend only 1:07 in. With the two man advantage, Tambellini's blast from just inside the left circle made it's way through a crowd in front of Horrell and into the net.

Five minutes later Chad Kolarik would add his second goal of the night on a blast from the right circle that trickled through Horrell's pads and slowly inched into the goal to give Michigan a 5-2 lead.

Bowling Green State notched one final goal at 12:03 after an errant Wolverine pass sparked Bryan Dobek on a breakaway. Dobek flung the puck high over Montoya's blocker into the net to make the final score 5-3.

With the regular season now completed, the Wolverines will turn their attention to the CCHA conference tournament scheduled to begin next weekend at Yost Ice Arena when the Wolverines host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a best of three weekend series.

At the conclusion of the game, the 10 Wolverine seniors were honored on the ice in a post game ceremony that saw the presentation of the 2005 CCHA regular season championship trophy. The group of seniors compiled a record of 110-42-13, while winning three regular season conference titles, two conference tournament titles, and two appearances in the NCAA Frozen Four.

"It's been a heck of a ride, but it's not over yet," said senior captain Eric Nystrom, "We came here to win the big one, but we haven't done that yet. Not many teams have done that since they've been here and we want to do that and look back and to leave our stamp on Michigan hockey. We made a mission statement this season and the last words are 'time to join a legacy' and we have as good of a chance as anybody right now. We have the team to do it."

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