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NMU icers fall to winless Alabama Huntsville, extend losing streak to four

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Bad starts have plagued the Northern Michigan University hockey team all season with the Wildcats being forced to rally to win a good chunk of their games.

NMU couldn’t pull off that feat again Friday though as the Wildcats fell 4-2 to winless Alabama Huntsville.

Northern dodged a bullet in the first couple of minutes when goaltender John Hawthorne fell behind the back of the NMU net, giving the Chargers a prime scoring opportunity. However, UAH couldn’t cash in.

The Wildcats couldn’t avoid the next three bullets though. Shortly after a UAH penalty expired, the Chargers’ Brandon Salerno collected the puck near center ice and raced into the NMU defensive zone. He then fed the puck over to Daneel Lategan, who beat a sprawling Hawthorne to put UAH up 1-0 at the 11:26 mark.

Huntsville struck again less than three minutes later when Connor Merkley passed the puck from behind the NMU net into the slot to the waiting hands of Tyr Thompson, who snapped the puck past Hawthorne. The Chargers now led 2-0.

Less than two minutes later, UAH notched its third tally when Josh Latta got a pass from the right circle from Christian Rajic and wristed a shot past Hawthorne. Nolan Kent then replaced Hawthorne in net for the Wildcats.

Northern had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the closing seconds of the period, but Griffin Loughran was stopped on a breakaway by UAH goalie Mark Sinclair.

Loughran did score on his next opportunity though. With the Wildcats on the power play in the second period, Loughran got the puck past Sinclair to cut NMU’s deficit to two at 3-1. Northern almost whittled the Chargers’ advantage down to one with four minutes left, but Vincent de Mey’s shorthanded attempt was stopped by Sinclair.

NMU tried to get some offense going in the third, but Sinclair stopped good opportunities from Ben Newhouse and Ty Readman with 15 minutes left and a shot by Michael Van Unen sailed wide with four minutes remaining.

The Chargers got an empty net goal from Connor Wood with 59 seconds left to extend their lead to 4-1 and the Wildcats got one goal back with 32 seconds left on a deflection by Grant Loven.

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