MARQUETTE - Ever since injuring his knee against Michigan State on Saturday, Northern Michigan University junior forward and leading goal scorer Tyler Gron has been out of the lineup, but he returned on Friday to give NMU an early boost in a 6-3 CCHA first round playoff win over Bowling Green State.
Gron, who leads the team in scoring with 17 goals despite missing the final two regular season series, could have played against Michigan last week according to NMU head coach Walt Kyle, but the team didn't want to rush his return.
"We were shooting for this weekend to be back," Gron said. "The knee healed up nicely. Everything is fine and the goal was a bonus."
Gron is one of the key pieces to an NMU power play that closed the regular season ranked second overall in the CCHA. He scored his 5-on-3 goal with only three second remaining in the two-man advantage to give NMU another power play, this time a one-man advantage, that freshman Stephan Vigier scored on.
Despite the success early, Gron said he would like to see the special teams unit improve, like his coach would. Both NMU and BGSU were 2 of 6 on the power play and NMU was outshot on special teams 12-9.
The officiating combo of Brian Aaron and Barry Pochmara called 15 penalties (seven on BGSU, eight on NMU) on Friday, including seven trips. If Friday's calling of tick-tack stick penalties is a preview of what is to come, there will be plenty of chances this weekend to score on the man advantage and a struggling NMU offense must convert on those chances.
"Our power play wasn't the best part of our game tonight," Gron said. "It's just little things we can fix. We lost a little bit of focus. It's making tape-to-tape passes. It's keeping the puck flat. It's doing our power play systems that we learned for three months now since we started this."
Bowling Green (8-25-4, 3-21-4-2CCHA) vs. Northern Michigan (15-17-5,12-13-3-0CCH)
Date: Mar 04, 2011 Location: Marquette, Michigan Arena: Berry Events Center
Attendance:1238 Start time:7:35 pm End time:10:00 pm Total time:2:25
Goals by Period 1 2 3 Tot
Bowling Green....... 1 2 0 - 3
Northern Michigan... 2 3 1 - 6
1st period - 1, BGSU, Fink, Michael/4 (Mohler, Brett/8, Williamson,
Bryce/2) 7:03 (pp). 2, NMU, Tyler Gron/17 (Andrew Cherniwchan/13,
Greger Hanson/17) 15:45 (pp). 3, NMU, Stephan Vigier/2 (Erik Higby/8,
Jared Brown/7) 16:27 (pp). Penalties - Erik Higby, NMU (tripping)
6:54; Austin Handley, NMU (tripping) 7:21; Mohler, Brett, BGSU
(tripping) 13:47; Grover, Max, BGSU (tripping) 14:40; Peltoma,Ryan,
BGSU (hooking) 17:51.
2nd period - 4, NMU, Erik Higby/5 (Wade Epp/7, Justin Florek/15)
5:12. 5, NMU, Brian Nugent/4 (Mike Maltese/7, Andrew Fernandez/4)
6:01. 6, BGSU, Sinclair, Cameron/4 6:32. 7, NMU, Stephan Vigier/3
(Jared Brown/8, Andrew Cherniwchan/14) 8:38. 8, BGSU, Williamson,
Bryce/3 (Fink, Michael/4, Samuels-Thomas, Jord/7) 9:04 (pp). Penalties
- Rodriguez, Marc, BGSU (roughing atw) 8:45; CJ Ludwig, NMU (roughing
atw) 8:45; CJ Ludwig, NMU (high sticking) 8:45; Erik Spady, NMU
(tripping) 9:26; Sloat, Jake, BGSU (hooking) 14:07; CJ Ludwig, NMU
3rd period - 9, NMU, Justin Florek/14 18:01 (empty net). Penalties
- Fink, Michael, BGSU (tripping) 5:24; Tyler Gron, NMU (tripping)
6:13; Rodriguez, Marc, BGSU (slashing) 18:46; Stephan Vigier, NMU
Shots on goal - BGSU 5-16-7 28; NMU 21-11-10 42.
Power plays - BGSU 2 of 6; NMU 2 of 6.
Penalties - BGSU 7 (14 min); NMU 8 (16 min).
Goalies - BGSU, Hammond,Andrew 4-15-3 (26:01 minutes, 25 shots-21
saves) , Eno, Nick (33:03, 16-15) , EMPTY NET (00:56, 0-0); NMU, Reid
Ellingson 10-12-3 (59:31, 28-25) , EMPTY NET (00:29, 0-0).
Penalty shots - None.
Three stars: 1. None 2. None 3. None
Referee:Brian Aaron; Barry Pochmara Assistant:Eric Froberg
Win-Reid Ellingson (10-12-3). Loss-Hammond,Andrew (4-15-3).
Northern Leads series 1-0