BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The ninth-place Northern Michigan University hockey team moved within two points of eighth-place Bowling Green State University and a first-round CCHA playoff series in Marquette with a 5-2 victory over the Falcons at the BGSU Ice Arena on Friday.
Wildcat junior forward Stephan Vigier recorded two goals and an assist while fellow junior forward Erik Higby and sophomore defenseman-turned-center Mitch Jones each had a goal and an assist.
NMU senior forward Matt Thurber was credited with two assists to bring his overall point total to 31 via five goals and a league-leading 26 assists.
Northern Michigan University sophomore forward Mitch Jones (74) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a power play goal in the first period on Friday against Bowling Green State at the BGSU Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune photo by Enoch Wu)
Northern (14-15-4 overall, 8-13-4 in CCHA) jumped out to a 4-0 lead on BGSU (12-16-5, 9-13-3) via goals by Vigier and Jones in the first period - Jones scored 24 seconds prior to the first intermission - and goals by sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty and Vigier in the second.
Falcons sophomores Connor Kucera and Ryan Carpenter cut the Wildcats' lead in half in a span of 1:14 late in the second period with Carpenter's goal coming on a power play, making it 4-2 at the second intermission.
Higby, who had assisted on Jones' first-period score, killed any chance of a BGSU comeback by scoring his seventh goal of the season with 5:56 to play with Thurber picking up his second assist of the night after also aiding Jones in the first period.
Northern Michigan 5, Bowling Green State 2
Northern Michigan2 2 1 - 5
Bowling Green State0 2 0 - 2
First period - 1, NMU, Stephan Vigier/6 (Scott Macaulay/10) 6:29. 2, NMU, Mitch Jones/3 (Matt Thurber/25, Erik Higby/11) 19:36 (pp).
Second period - 3, NMU, Ryan Daugherty/10 (CJ Ludwig/10, Stephan Vigier/13) 6:07 (pp). 4, NMU, Stephan Vigier/7 (Mitch Jones/9, Austin Handley/3) 10:36. 5, BGSU, Kucera, Connor/2 (Wallace, Andrew/4, Mohler, Brett/2) 16:41. 6, BGSU, Carpenter, Ryan/14 (Cooper, Mark/7, Mingo, Dajon/12) 17:55 (pp).
Third period - 7, NMU, Erik Higby/7 (Matt Thurber/26) 14:04.
Shots on goal - NMU 5-9-7 21; BGSU 8-20-11 39.
Power plays - NMU 2 of 4; BGSU 1 of 7.
Penalties - NMU 8 (16 min); BGSU 5 (10 min).
Goalies - NMU, Jared Coreau 14-15-4 (60:00 minutes, 39 shots-37 saves); BGSU, Burke, Tommy 4-6-2 (60:00, 21-16).
Carpenter's goal was the lone power play goal for the Falcons on seven chances while the Wildcats went 2 for 4 on the man advantage via power play goals by Jones and Daugherty.
NMU was outshot 20-9 in the second period and 39-21 in the game, but junior netminder Jared Coreau stopped 37 of those BGSU shots to help his team pick up only its second road win in CCHA play this season.
BGSU freshman goaltender Tommy Burke, who was playing in the place of injured senior starter Andrew Hammond, finished with 16 saves. Hammond is questionable for the Falcons' Senior Night against the Wildcats at 7:05 p.m. tonight in Bowling Green, Ohio.
NOTES: Senior defenseman Scott Macaulay, junior defenseman CJ Ludwig and junior defenseman Austin Handley each had assists for NMU.... Daugherty's goal was his 10th this season as he joins sophomore Reed Seckel with double-digit goals.... NMU at 29 points needs a win Saturday to leapfrog BGSU, which has 31 points, in the CCHA standings. Anything less keeps NMU in ninth place and would open the door for Michigan, with 28 points, to jump past the 'Cats.