Northern Michigan University women’s club hockey team reaches ACHA national semifinals

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University women’s club hockey team bowed out in the semifinals of the American College Hockey Association Division II women’s tournament on Saturday.

The Wildcats lost to Lakehead University 6-1 in a matchup of the top two ranked teams from the West. Lakehead, from Thunder Bay, Ontario, went on to win the ACHA title with a 3-1 win over North Dakota State on Sunday.

On Friday, Northern earned its place in the semifinals by defeating the University of Delaware 7-5, clinching first place in Pool B with a 2-0 record. On Thursday, NMU opened the tourney with an 11-0 whitewash of Villanova.

Against Lakehead, Sydney Higgins scored NMU’s lone goal just past the midpoint of the second period after Lakehead put three pucks past Wildcats’ goalie Devin Christian in the first period.

Allison Carlson and Shay Bates picked up assists on Higgins’ goal as Lakehead held a 40-29 shots advantage.

In the win against Delaware, NMU didn’t put the game away until the final minute when Bates and Carlson scored unassisted goals to break a 5-5 tie.

Northern got out to a fast start, with Bates, Kendall Turro and Carlie Kangas scoring in the game’s first 15:01 to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.

But the Blue Hens answered immediately, getting on the board just 16 seconds after Kangas’ goal, then adding three more through the first 15 minutes of the second period to take a 4-3 lead.

NMU’s Loren Holfeld tied it with 23 seconds left in the second while Carlson netted the go-ahead goal with 9:34 left.

Delaware had one more comeback with a goal with 4:54 to go to reknot it 5-5 and set up Bates’ and Carlson’s heroics in the final minute.

Carlson added two assists for a four-point game, while Bates, Kangas, Holfeld and Vanessa Hiley added single assists.

Christian made 29 saves as NMU outshot Delaware 49-34.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.