Putting on a show up north

NMU defenseman Beaulieu scores 3 straight power play goals in win over Alaska Saturday

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — On Saturday night, in the heart of the Last Frontier, Northern Michigan University defenseman Phil Beaulieu put on a show.

With the Wildcats trailing 1-0 in the third period, Beaulieu scored three straight power play goals in the span of three minutes to lift NMU to a 4-2 victory and a sweep of Alaska. The win moved the Wildcats into third place in the WCHA standings.

Beaulieu’s hat trick was NMU’s (11-10, 10-4 WCHA) first one since Dec. 16, 2017 when teammate Darien Craighead scored three against Ferris State.

Beaulieu may have been the star of the night, but it was the Nanooks (4-14-2, 4-9-1-1) who got on the scoreboard first. After a scoreless first period, Alaska started to put more pressure on NMU goalie Atte Tolvanen early in the second.

A shot by the Nanooks’ Ryker Leer went just over the crossbar with 14:20 left and Kyle Marino ran a shot off the post 30 seconds later.

Finally at the 7:54 mark, Alaska cashed in. With the Nanooks swarming around Tolvanen, Alaska forward Tyler Kline got a shot on net that was deflected out. However, teammate Troy Van Tetering was there for the rebound and tapped it past Tolvanen to put the Nanooks up 1-0. Tolvanen finished with 32 saves..

Northern had a good chance to tie the game as senior forward Denver Pierce was left along in front of the Nanooks net with 7:44 remaining. Troy Loggins collected the puck behind the net and passed it out to Pierce, but Alaska goalie Anton Martinsson made a sprawling save to maintain the Nanooks’ slim lead.

Down 1-0 in the third, Beaulieu started to work his magic.

He got his first goal at the 6:10 mark of the period after the Nanooks were whistled for interference. The junior shot the puck on net that managed to deflect off of Martinsson and into the back of the net, tying the game at 1-1.

Beaulieu wasn’t finished though. When Alaska was called for another interference penalty, Beaulieu got his second goal when his shot from the low slot got past Martinsson at the 8:54 mark.

Just 19 seconds later, Beaulieu completed the hat trick. With the Nanooks in the box for cross-checking, he got a drop pass from Pierce in the high slot and beat Martinsson blocker-side to put NMU up 3-1.

A couple minutes later, it looked as if Northern had scored again as the puck went into the net as Garrett Klee was sliding into it, but after a short video review, it was waved off.

At the 14:46 mark, the Nanooks got one goal back. With Alaska on a 3-on-1 rush, Cline sent a shot that was saved by Tolvanen. However as Tolvanen tried to cover it, Van Tetering slid the puck under Tolvanen’s leg pad to cut Alaska’s deficit to 3-2.

However, NMU wouldn’t be denied as Pierce tallied an empty-netter to cap off the victory and the sweep.

Northern will try to extend its four-game winning streak this weekend when it travels to Alaska-Anchorage. The Wildcats swept the Seawolves earlier this season in Marquette.

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