Wolverines Rally Falls Short

On Friday, the No. 8-ranked Michigan ice hockey team tripped to Nebraska for the Maize and Blue's final two-game road trip of the season. In the opener with the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, the Wolverines fell behind 3-0 before climbing back to tie the score late in the game. However, the Mavericks had the answer netting the game winner in the final five minutes of the game to knock off the Wolverines 4-3.

It didn't take long for the Wolverines to slide out of second place. In the Maize and Blue's first game since leapfrogging the Michigan State Spartans into second place, the Wolverines dropped a tough 4-3 decision on the road to the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.

Just 2:34 into the game, Nebraska-Omaha jumped on top. After dumping the puck inside the U-M zone, Mavericks forward Bryan Marshall found teammate Bill Thomas in the slot to jam the puck past Michigan goalie Noah Ruden.

Minutes later, another Wolverines miscue allowed the Mavericks to capitalize again and climb on top 2-0. As the Mavericks carried the puck into the Michigan zone, U-M defenseman Jon Montville slipped on the ice providing the home team with another scoring opportunity. Mick Lawrence crashed the far post and tapped in the centering pass to make it 2-0 at 7:06.

However, in the second period, the Wolverines began to control the pace of play. As the teams exchanged power-play opportunities, the ice began tilting down towards the UNO end of the rink. But Michigan shouldn't capitalize. Despite out shooting the home team 22-14 through two periods, the Wolverines still trailed 2-0 heading into the second intermission.

In the third frame, UNO extended the lead at 6:20. Brandon Scero snapped a shot past Ruden's glove from just inside the slot to put the Mavericks on top 3-0.

Matt Hunwick cut the lead to 3-1 two minutes later. Hunwick capitalized on a feed from T.J. Hensick at 8:33. Hunwick's goal, his eighth of the season, ended U-M's longest scoreless streak since the 2003-04 season.

At 16:12, Jack Johnson netted his eighth goal of the season to further cut into the UNO lead. A second goal created by Hensick, Johnson found open space on the ice to slam the puck past UNO goalie Jerad Kaufmann.

1:03 later, Hunwick's second goal of the game knotted it up 3-3. Hunwick crashed the left post jamming home a rebound off of Tim Cook's shot from the point.

Unfortunately it didn't last. Just six seconds removed from the Hunwick goal, UNO took the lead for good in the final three minutes of the game. Alex Nikiforuk won the draw following the Hunwick goal and took it right through the U-M defense to net the game winning goal.

With the loss, the Wolverines drop into third place of the CCHA with just three games remaining in regular season play. Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha conclude the two-game series on Saturday night at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

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