Wildcat icers settle for true tie

By Journal Sports Staff

BEMIDJI, Minnesota — After getting an overtime win that officially was a tie on Friday, the Northern Michigan University hockey team had to settle for a garden-variety, plain old tie on Saturday.

The Wildcats and Bemidji State played through two overtime periods but couldn’t break a 4-4 deadlock as that’s how it ended.

Darien Craighead scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season for NMU (8-8-2, 6-4-2 WCHA), the first giving Northern a 2-1 lead barely a minute and a half into the second period and his other tying the game 3-3 with 7:14 left in the same period.

The Wildcats’ Adam Rockwood opened the scoring with his third goal of the season with 3:39 left in the opening period, but the Beavers needed just 44 seconds to tie it 1-1 on the first goal of the season by Carter Struthers.

Craighead made it 2-1 in the second before the Beavers got goals a little more than six minutes apart to take their only lead at 3-2. Bemidji’s Charlie Combs got his fifth of the year with 14:05 left, while teammate Hampus Sjodahl got his first with 7:44 to go.

The scoring wasn’t even close to being done in the second period, however, as Craighead notched his second of the game 30 seconds after Sjodahl scored to retie things 3-3.

Then with 33 seconds to go in the period, Zach Diamantoni scored his third goal of the season to give NMU a 4-3 lead. He earlier assisted on Rockwood’s tally.

Bemidji scored the only special teams goal of the night, and the only goal of any kind in the third period, when Myles Fitzgerald forged a 4-4 tie with a power play goal with 5:50 remaining in regulation. His fourth goal of the season came just 2 seconds before a penalty on Luke Voltin was to expire.

Mathias Israelsson was kept busy stopping 35 shots, with one he made in OTs and at least nine in each of the regulation periods.

BSU’s Michael Bitzer was called on to make 24 saves, which included only one in the first period and none in the two OTs combined.

The Wildcats return home next weekend to take on Ferris State at the Berry Events Center at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. The Bulldogs are the only team NMU has swept this season.

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