Late outburst extends Northern Michigan University hockey win streak to 6 games

Jarrett Lee

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — It looked as though a long, two-week, four-game trip to Alaska was finally going to catch up to the Northern Michigan University hockey team on Saturday night.

For a majority of their final game of the trip at Alaska-Anchorage, the Wildcats were stymied by Seawolves goalie Kris Carlson.

That was until midway through the third period when Northern’s offense caught a spark. Taking advantage of the Seawolves’ porous defense, NMU scored three goals in less than a minute and a half to emerge with a 4-1 victory.

This was the second time during the two-week trip where the Wildcats (13-10, 12-4 WCHA) used a third-period rally to get a win. Thanks to that surge against Anchorage (2-19-1, 1-14-1), Northern has won six straight games and remains in second place in the conference standings.

Down 1-0 more than halfway through the final period, NMU caught a break for its first goal. Wildcats defenseman Robert Fosdick sent a shot on net that Carlson kicked aside, but forward Jarrett Lee was right there to tap the rebound into the net and tie the game 1-1. It was Lee’s first career goal with Northern.

Atte Tolvanen

Just 46 seconds later, Northern found the net again as Joe Nardi got a pass from Griffin Loughran and beat Carlson to the far post. The Wildcats finished their scoring burst 31 seconds after that when Adam Rockwood received a feed from Troy Loggins and fired a wrister past Carlson’s blocker. In a span of just 77 seconds, Northern went from being shut out to enjoying a 3-1 advantage. Loggins capped off the Wildcats’ scoring with an empty-netter with 2:01 to go.

Northern was forced to make the comeback because just like the previous night, the Seawolves got the jump early as Jeremiah Luedtke forced Wildcats goalie Atte Tolvanen to make a slick save only a minute into the game.

Midway through the first period, Tolvanen couldn’t stop UAA’s next good opportunity. Seawolves forward Trey deGraaf backhanded a puck behind the net to Andrew Lane, who backhanded a shot past Tolvanen to put UAA up 1-0.

The Wildcats couldn’t find much offense until late in the period as Loggins got free on a partial breakaway. However, his backhanded shot was gloved by Carlson, who made a lunging save to the post to keep UAA ahead.

NMU started slowly again in the second as Luedtke almost put the Seawolves up 2-0 when his shot was just deflected out by Tolvanen with 14:38 to go. With nine minutes remaining, UAA forward Nils Rygaard had Tolvanen beat, but his wrist shot flew over the crossbar.

The Wildcats later managed to weather a storm as defenseman Connor Frantti was dealt a five-minute major penalty along with a game misconduct. Northern’s best chance to tie the game in the middle period came in the closing minutes when defenseman Phil Beaulieu’s shot was blocked by Carlson and a rebound was left in the crease, but Carlson covered the puck in time to maintain the Seawolves’ lead.

The Wildcats are off this week, then host WCHA leader Minnesota State-Mankato on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26, at the Berry Events Center.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.