Northern Michigan University Wildcats’ Mathias Israelsson named WCHA’s goalie of the week

Mathias Israelsson

MARQUETTE — A home split with league leader Minnesota State-Mankato has not only propelled Northern Michigan University into the top 20 in the NCAA rankings, but netted sophomore goaltender Mathias Israelsson the honor of WCHA Goaltender of the Week.

Israelsson got the call to start Saturday’s game after the Wildcats lost 3-0 on Friday night to the Mavericks with No. 1 goalie Atte Tolvanen minding the net.

Israelsson backstopped Northern’s 4-1 victory against Minnesota State, putting NMU at 5-3 and the Mavericks at 6-3.

The Wildcats are 20th in the NCAA Division I poll conducted by U.S. College Hockey Online, with the Mavericks 10th.

This was Israelsson’s third game and first start of the season as he made 23 saves. After giving up an even-strength first-period goal to MSU’s C.J. Suess, the Northern netminder was perfect as he watched teammates Troy Loggins and Darien Craighead score power play goals and Robbie Payne bag a shorthander in the second period. Loggins picked up his second goal on an empty-netter in the final two minutes.

Israelsson was busiest in the third period, stopping 12 of the 24 shots he faced during the game.

Overall this season, Israelsson has 44 saves, a saves percentage of .957 and goals-against average of 1.30.

At the first week of the season, Payne earned the WCHA offensive award, while Tolvanen picked up three Defensive Player of the Week accolades last season with this season being the first a separate Goaltender of the Week is named.

The Wildcats return to action this weekend with a home-and-home series with Upper Peninsula rival Michigan Tech University. The Huskies (2-4-2) and Wildcats (3-1) are tied for third place in the WCHA, though MTU has played twice as many league games. The Huskies at 4-5-2 overall received enough votes in NCAA poll to be rated 26th.

Friday’s game is at 7:07 p.m. in Houghton with NMU hosting the 7 p.m. Saturday game at the Berry Events Center.

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