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NMU hockey blows 2-0 lead, falls to Wisconsin in third period

Senior Florek of Marquette scores twice on 11 shots on goal

October 9, 2011
By MATT WELLENS - Journal Sports Editor ( , The Mining Journal

MADISON - The Northern Michigan University hockey team blew a 2-0 lead on Friday night, but prevailed in overtime to defeat the Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center in Madison.

The Wildcats weren't as fortunate on Saturday.

For the second night in a row, NMU failed to hold on to a two-goal advantage as the Badgers' Derek Lee beat Wildcat sophomore goaltender Jared Coreau on a wrap around for a 3-2 Badger victory.

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"I thought I played well and had some big saves," Coreau said. "That last one I just kind of misread it."

Sophomore Reed Seckel was the hero for NMU in OT on Friday with a wrap-around goal and he had the chance to be the hero again Saturday.

With 19.8 seconds on the clock, an extra NMU attacker and a Badger in the penalty box, the Melvin, Mich. native rocketed a shot on the Wisconsin net, but UW freshman goaltender Joel Rumpel made the stop in his first career college hockey contest to secure the UW win.

"It's not good. It's not fun, especially with a 2-0 lead after the first," said NMU junior Matt Thurber, a former Badger. "We let them back in the game with once again penalties so its something we have to fix and once we do, we will be good to go."

Seckel's blast was one of many golden chances NMU could not put away as the Wildcats outshot the Badgers, 33-28.

Of Northern's 33 shots, 22 came from inside the face off dots.

"You don't like the result, but we played better," NMU head coach Walt Kyle said. "We generated 33 shots. We had a lot of great scoring chances tonight that we were unable to capitalize on."

NMU senior Justin Florek of Marquette had both of the Wildcat scores. He finished with 11 shots on goal with nine coming from close range.

Florek gave the Wildcats (1-1 overall) a 2-0 lead at the first intermission by putting away a pair of power play goals.

He buried the first with assists by senior Tyler Gron and junior Kyle Follmer just 3:35 into the game and tallied his third goal of the season in two games, this time unassisted with 17 seconds left in the first period.

"I'm not satisfied with a split," Florek said. "You never are. We had a chance to sweep here and I'm pretty disappointed as are the rest of the guys."

Just as they had on Friday, the Badgers (1-1 overall) rallied, getting a power play goal at the 11:54 mark of the second period from sophomore Tyler Barnes and the game-tying goal at 16:21 from sophomore Michael Mersch.

Barnes beat Coreau over the left shoulder by ringing a shot up on the top shelf. Mersch then took advantage of a hard rebound given up by Coreau to tie the game at 2-2.

Coreau finished with 25 saves in his first action of the season after senior Reid Ellingson made 27 saves in the opener on Friday.

"Reid had a great game last night and I though Coreau was really good tonight," Kyle said. "I thought some of the saves (Coreau) had to make tonight were of the huge variety. He made some huge saves to keep us in the game."

Kyle said going into the season he would split time between the two goaltenders and that plan should continue with St. Cloud State visiting the Berry Events Center on Friday and Saturday night in the Wildcats' 2011-12 home openers.

Notes: Northern took a small step in the penalty department from 11 for 22 minutes on Friday to nine for 18 minutes on Saturday. The Badgers were whistled eight times for 16 minutes. ... Rumpel made 31 saves in his first career college start. ... Northern was 2 for 7 on the power play, generating 10 shots. ... The Wildcat penalty kill finished the weekend giving up only two goals on 19 Badger chances. NMU successfully killed a UW five-on-three for the second night in a row, this time using Wade Epp, Andrew Cherniwchan and C.J. Ludwig.



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