Hockey pushes No. 9 Michigan to OT

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By Charr Grimm | @KernelGrimm

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UK hockey (9-21-0) fell in both games to No. 9 Michigan (15-10-0) this weekend, 8-2 on Friday and 6-5 in overtime on Saturday.

Because of a lazy start by the Cats, the Wolverines exited the first period on top, 2-0.

The laziness which plagued UK that first period would plague the Cats the whole game. At the end of the second, the Cats had yet to find the back of the cage behind junior goaltender Brian Burchman.

UK’s junior defender Pat Wittman was the first person to net a goal in the third period, cutting into the Michigan lead.

After sophomore defender Jacob Cohen was whistled for roughing, the Wolverines capitalized on the power play to regain a four-goal lead.

Michigan senior forward Austin Murtland was whistled for the hook on freshman defender Alex Townsend and this time it was the Cats’ junior forward Matt McLaughlin who was able to score a power play goal. With 10 minutes remaining in the third, Michigan held a 5-2 lead.

The Wolverines would never relinquish the lead and would go on to win the game, 8-2.

On Saturday, a very different Cats team skated onto the ice at the Yost Ice Arena.

“We were passing a lot better. The forecheck was a lot better. All out hustle the whole game,” Matt McLaughlin said.

About halfway through the first period, Michigan was whistled for too many men on the ice. Junior defenseman Jeremy Schmidt fired a shot on sophomore goaltender Ryan Hayes.

Hayes’ rebound sprung right to the stick of junior forward Ryan Thomas. Thomas’ shot beat Hayes to create a 1-0 Cats lead.

After coming up with several huge saves for the Cats’ defense, junior goaltender Aaron Tenfelde was finally beaten by senior forward Robbie Fulton. The two teams would exit the first tied at one.

“We did a lot better on the defensive end,” Townsend said.

Shortly after the start of the second, Matt McLaughlin fired a backhand shot that even he didn’t see hit the back of the net.

Junior forward Nick Houser would see to it that the Cats would not have an easy time of it as he would fire a shot that would go top shelf behind Tenfelde to tie the game once more during a 5-on-3 power play for the Wolverines.

“We’ve got to stay out of the box,” junior forward Matt Hudzinski said.

Sophomore forward Andrew Baron would put the puck behind Hayes to put UK back on top. After that goal, Michigan would pull Hayes to favor Burchman once more in net.

The Cats would exit the second period ahead of Michigan, 3-2.

Ten minutes into the third, the Wolverines had scored three unanswered goals to take a lead of 5-3. The Cats weren’t going to go down as easily as they did Friday night, however.

On a penalty to sophomore forward Keaton Schwarz, senior forward Dylan Rohar would find the net behind Burchman to pull the Cats within one.

Shortly after, Hudzinski would net the tying goal for the Cats.

Regulation ended with the teams tied at five apiece.

A minute and a half into sudden-death overtime, the Wolverines would nail the coffin shut on the Cats, getting the puck behind Tenfelde to seal their victory.

“We need to play smarter (in the future). Five on five we were killing them, but shorthanded they got us,” Matt McLaughlin said.

The Cats are back home this Friday against D-I Indiana before traveling to Indiana on Saturday.