ST. CLOUD, Minn. - The Northern Michigan University hockey team began 2013 on Friday in a fashion yet unseen this season with five different players, including three defensemen, finding the back of the net in a 6-2 nonconference victory over No. 15 St. Cloud State University, the 200th win in the career of NMU head coach Walt Kyle.
The Wildcats (7-10-3 overall, 2-9-3 in CCHA) and Huskies (12-9-0 overall, 9-5-0 in WCHA) meet again in Game 2 of the series at 8:07 p.m. tonight in St. Cloud.
"We made some plays tonight and we've been so snake-bitten around the net," Kyle said to the St. Cloud Times (sctimes.com). "We've had so many of our top offensive players out or playing at 75 percent (with injuries) and we've not been a good offensive team in the first half.
"As pucks started to go in for us tonight, you could see relief and our confidence grow."
The Wildcats were barely averaging two goals per game this season through 19 games and had topped out at a high of four goals on four occasions - against Wisconsin, Alaska and twice against Michigan.
The Wildcats scored three each in the second and third period, with sophomore forward Reed Seckel and senior defenseman Scott Macaulay scoring within 41 seconds of each other nearly three minutes into the second stanza to give NMU a 2-1 lead.
NMU sophomore Ryan Daugherty recorded the game-winner and his seventh goal of the season during a five-minute Wildcat power play 16:21 into the second period.
Seckel, junior defenseman C.J. Ludwig and senior defenseman Kyle Follmer all added third period goals.
NMU senior forward Matt Thurber and his linemate, junior forward Erik Higby, each had three assists. The Higby-Thurber-Seckel line was responsible for three of the six goals.
Northern Michigan 6, St. Cloud State 2
Northern Michigan 0 3 3 - 6
St. Cloud State 1 1 0 - 2
1st period - 1, SCSU, Ben Hanowski/7 (Jonny Brodzinski/6, Drew LeBlanc/23) 10:45. Penalties - Erik Higby, NMU (slashing) 6:34.
2nd period - 2, NMU, Reed Seckel/6 (Matt Thurber/12, Erik Higby/5) 2:17. 3, NMU, Scott Macaulay/4 (Ryan Aynsley/3, Darren Nowick/2) 2:58. 4, SCSU, Cory Thorson/7 (Nick Oliver/4) 13:46. 5, NMU, Ryan Daugherty/7 (CJ Ludwig/7, Stephan Vigier/10) 16:21 (pp). Penalties - Mitch Jones, NMU (boarding) 7:47; Joey Benik, SCSU (ct) 14:50; Joey Benik, SCSU (game misconduct) 14:50; Team, NMU (too many players on ice) 18:54.
3rd period - 6, NMU, Reed Seckel/7 (Matt Thurber/13, Erik Higby/6) 1:10. 7, NMU, CJ Ludwig/3 (Cohen Adair/2, Kory Kaunisto/1) 11:49. 8, NMU, Kyle Follmer/1 (Erik Higby/7, Matt Thurber/13) 17:38. Penalties - Scott Macaulay, NMU (interference) 5:23; Jake Baker, NMU (elbowing) 13:18.
Shots on goal - NMU 10-9-7 26; SCSU 7-9-7 23.
Power plays - NMU 1 of 2; SCSU 0 of 5.
Penalties - NMU 5 (10 min); SCSU 2 (15 min).
Goalies - NMU, Jared Coreau 7-10-3 (60:00 minutes, 23 shots-21 saves); SCSU, Rasmus Reijola 0-2-0 (59:41, 26-20) , EMPTY NET (00:19, 0-0).
Northern outshot SCSU 26-23 with junior goaltender Jared Coreau making 21 saves in the win.
The five-minute major assessed to SCSU's Joey Benik for contact to the head accounted for the Wildcats only two power plays of the night.
The NMU penalty kill, which ranked second-to-last in the nation heading into Friday's game, fended off all five SCSU man advantages.
With nonconference games today against SCSU and Feb. 12 game at Michigan Tech, NMU is 5-1 outside the CCHA - all against the WCHA - and 2-9-3 in league play.