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No. 19 Northern Michigan battles No. 6 Ferris State to 5-5 tie in CCHA play

Junior forward Matt Thurber goal give NMU shootout win

February 4, 2012
By MATT WELLENS - Journal Sports Editor ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - For Northern Michigan University head hockey coach Walt Kyle, it was nice to see his offense post five goals against No. 6 Ferris State after being shut out by Miami in Oxford, Ohio a week ago.

The five goals allowed, however, left the coach of the No. 19-ranked Wildcats frustrated.

"I don't like scoring five goals and giving up five goals, I can tell you that," Kyle said. "I think we did a very good job doing a lot of things, but we have to be a lot better (Saturday)."

Article Video

The Wildcats and Bulldogs traded the lead on five occasions before FSU senior Aaron Schmit tied the game for good with 9:47 to play in a 5-5 tie between the CCHA rivals at the Berry Events Center on Friday.

Northern overcame deficits of 2-1 and 3-2 in the second period, while the Bulldogs erased 1-0, 4-3 and 5-4 NMU leads with the latter two Wildcat advantages being squandered in the third period.

NMU outshot Ferris 5-2 in overtime without lighting the lamp, but junior forward Matt Thurber was able to record the lone goal in a shootout to give Northern an extra point in the CCHA standings.

Article Photos

From left, Northern Michigan University's Tyler Gron tries to knock the puck down and gain control with Ferris State University's Jordie Johnson and Scott Czarnowczan nearby during the second period Friday evening at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)

The two-point shootout win still left Northern stuck at ninth behind Michigan State while Ferris State was overtaken by Western Michigan by a point in the CCHA standings.

NMU and FSU meet again at 7:35 tonight at the BEC.

"We did have some breakdowns tonight in the defensive zone and penalties cost us tonight," Thurber said. "We couldn't kill off some of those penalties. It goes both ways.

Fact Box

Northern Michigan 5, Ferris State 5

NMU wins shootout 1-0

Ferris State........ 2 1 2 0 - 5

Northern Michigan... 2 2 1 0 - 5

1st period - 1, NMU, Stephan Vigier/5 (Justin Florek/9, Andrew Cherniwchan/5) 2:59. 2, FSU, Kyle Bonis/13 (Scott Czarnowczan/11, Jason Binkley/6) 4:23 (pp). 3, FSU, Garrett Thompson/7 (Chad Billins/16, Simon Denis/9) 7:29 (pp). 4, NMU, Reed Seckel/6 (Tyler Gron/17, Kyle Follmer/17) 12:58.

2nd period - 5, FSU, Eric Alexander/5 (Simon Denis/10, Nate Milam/4) 1:52. 6, NMU, Tyler Gron/13 (Kyle Follmer/18, Andrew Cherniwchan/6) 14:33 (pp). 7, NMU, Tyler Gron/14 (Justin Florek/10, Kyle Follmer/19) 16:55.

3rd period - 8, FSU, Chad Billins/5 (Matthew Kirzinger/16, Jordie Johnston/10) 2:45 (pp). 9, NMU, CJ Ludwig/1 (Matt Thurber/13, Tyler Gron/18) 5:18. 10, FSU, Aaron Schmit/4 10:13.

OT period - No scoring.

Shootout - NMU: Matt Thurber.

Shots on goal - FSU 7-11-7-2 27; NMU 10-9-7-5 31.

Power plays - FSU 3 of 5; NMU 1 of 4.

Penalties - FSU 4 (8 min); NMU 5 (10 min).

Goalies - FSU, Taylor Nelson (64:49 minutes, 31 shots-26 saves); NMU, Reid Ellingson (65:00, 27-22).

"We're not happy with the outcome, but we're happy we came out with the shootout win."

NMU senior forward Tyler Gron posted two goals and two assists for his fourth multi-goal game of the season.

Gron assisted on a goal by redshirt freshman Reed Seckel in the first period that tied the game at 2-2 and on the go-ahead goal by sophomore C.J. Ludwig that gave NMU a 5-4 lead 5:18 into the third period.

Gron tied the game at 3-3 on the power play in the second period with assists by junior defenseman Kyle Follmer and senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan.

He then put NMU out front 4-3 with a dangler that was assisted by senior forward Justin Florek of Marquette and Follmer just over two minutes after tying the game.

Follmer finished with three assists after also helping on Seckel's goal. Florek and Cherniwchan each had two assists as both set up Stephan Vigier for the first goal of the night 2:59 into the game for a 1-0 Wildcat lead.

"I think we had too many letdowns and let them stay in a game that we probably should have just won 5-2, maybe 5-3," Gron said. "Defensively, we had little breakdowns. I'm not going to name names, but guys were making little mistakes, myself included.

"Offensively, I thought we got the job done. If we're scoring five goals a game, we should probably be winning."

Ferris picked up goals from five different players and three came on its five power play chances.

Junior forward Kyle Bonis and sophomore forward Garrett Thompson capitalized on the Bulldogs' first two power plays to put NMU down 2-1 in the first period.

Junior forward Eric Alexander gave FSU a 3-2 lead 1:52 into the second period and senior defenseman Chad Billins beat NMU senior netminder Reid Ellingson with a blast from the blue line 2:45 into the third period on the power play to tie the game at 4-4.

"We just had a couple of breakdowns and they got the pucks through," Thurber said about Northern's penalty kill, which allowed a season-high three goals. "We should have blocked a shot or picked up a guy and they scored on them. It cost us winning this game."

Ellingson finished with 22 saves, including two in the shootout, in what was his first start since Jan. 13 at Michigan State. It was also Ellingson's first complete game since a 2-2 tie on Jan. 6 against Alaska in Marquette. His last victory came Dec. 3 against Miami as the senior fell to 4-5-3 on the year.

Sophomore Jared Coreau, 8-4-2 on the year, will start tonight for NMU, according to Kyle.

"I can't blame him, but I don't like giving up five goals on 27 shots," Kyle said about Ellingson. "We'll see where we are and go with Jared tomorrow."

NOTES: Ludwig's goal was his first of the season. ... Taylor Nelson finished with 26 saves in the tie. He made two stops in the shootout. ... Gron now has a team-high 32 points of 14 goals and 18 assists. He and Florek share the team-high of 14 goals while Follmer leads the team in assists with 19.



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