Wildcats unable to pull off hockey sweep, lose 6-3

HANNOUN

By Journal Sports Staff

MANKATO, Minnesota — Northern Michigan University’s dreams of taking over first place in the WCHA were dashed — at least for now.

The Wildcats gave up four third-period goals, two into an empty net, as first-place Minnesota State-Mankato took a 6-3 victory to split their series in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Nevertheless, NMU (10-9-2, 9-5-2 WCHA) pulled out a series split playing in the rink of the top team in the league and No. 7-ranked team in the country following Friday’s 4-3 victory. The Wildcats also took over second place alone in the WCHA after that win.

And all that happened without first-year head coach Grant Potulny on hand, who is serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. team at the world juniors tournament held in and around Buffalo, New York.

Northern tied the game 1-1 in the opening period on the first goal of the season by sophomore forward Demico Hannoun. Assists were attributed to junior forward Troy Loggins and freshman defenseman Robert Fosdick.

The Mavericks retook a 2-1 lead in the final four minutes of the first period on a goal by Daniel Brickley.

Then following a scoreless second period, Mankato (14-6, 12-4) broke loose in the third. The Mavs made it 4-1 on goals by Marc Michaelis and Reggie Lutz in the first 12 minutes of the period.

Northern got a goal back with 5:05 left on the second tally of the year by freshman defenseman Adam Roeder, pulling Northern within two.

Not too much later, the Wildcats’ brain trust decided to pull junior Atte Tolvanen in favor of an extra attacker, but Mankato foiled the strategy with empty-net goals by C.J. Suess with 2:14 to go and Nicolas Rivera with 1:25 left.

In between those empty-netters, Northern senior forward Filip Starzynski potted a goal as Marquette native and NMU sophomore Brett Heikkila earned the assist.

Tolvanen made 33 saves, including 17 in the final period, while Mankato’s Jason Pawloski stopped just 23.

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

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