MARQUETTE - The Northern Michigan University hockey team wrapped up exhibition play Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Laurentian University of Sudbury, Ontario, at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.
Wildcats senior forward Ryan Daugherty, who had 10 goals a year ago, scored twice in the third period to give NMU the win after falling behind 2-0 in the first period.
"The whole weekend served its purpose," NMU head coach Walt Kyle said. "We grew as the weekend went. You could see us become much less rusty. We started to make some plays. We turned over less pucks. We saw our conditioning level was pretty good."
Northern, which rallied from a 1-0 deficit on Saturday night to win 3-1 over the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 squad in an exhibition, gave up an even strength and power play goal in the first period to Laurentian before sophomore forward Ryan Aynsley batted an airborne puck into the back of the net with 25 seconds left before intermission.
Daugherty tied the game during 4-on-4 hockey by beating Laurentian goaltender Charlie Millen one-on-one on a breakaway at 10:02 of the third period. He posted the game-winner shorthanded 53 seconds later.
"We believe and we hope that Ryan is not done (rising)," Kyle said. "He came into last year and took a huge step. He probably had the quietest 10 goals in the country last year. If he takes another step from there, we'll be in pretty good shape."
Laurentian's Richard Therien was tossed from the game at 5:59 of the third period for kneeing, but during his five-minute major, the Wildcats committed five minor penalties that eventually led to a 5-on-3 advantage Laurentian was unable to take advantage of.
NMU finished with nine minors for 18 minutes compared to the 12 penalties on Laurentian for 35 minutes.
Northern only converted on one of their nine power plays Sunday afternoon after going 1 for 4 on Saturday evening.
The NMU penalty kill only allowed one power play goal during the opposition's nine power play attempts the entire weekend.
"Because of the penalty calls, we got a lot of opportunity to work on the power play and penalty killing, which really something is we have spent very little time at," Kyle said. "That was really healthy for us so I thought that was great."
Notes: Sophomore goaltender Michael Doan stopped 11 of 13 shots in the first and second period before redshirt freshman Mathias Dahlstrom came on in the third to stop all five shots he faced. ... Sophomore defenseman Barrett Kaib and freshman defenseman Brock Maschmeyer assisted on Aynsley's first period goal. ... Junior forward Ryan Kesti and junior defenseman Jake Baker assisted on Daugherty's third-period goals. ... NMU opens the 2013-14 regular season Friday and Saturday in Madison, Wis., against the University of Wisconsin.