Northern Michigan University Wildcats hockey team outlasts Bowling Green State Falcons in Saturday shootout

MARQUETTE — It won’t go on the official record books as a win, but nevertheless, the Northern Michigan University hockey team picked up two points after coming out victorious in a shootout against Bowling Green State on Saturday evening.

Officially, the teams skated to a 3-3 tie, which is what the score was after overtime. But the Wildcats will know that AJ Vanderbeck and Mikey Colella scored goals in the shootout while goalie Rico DiMatteo only let in one “penalty shot” for a 2-1 victory in the shootout and the extra point in the standings. Colella notched the game-winner.

While regulation victories are worth three points and regulation losses zero points, an overtime or shootout win is worth two points and an OT or shootout loss gets one point.

The Wildcats moved into a tie for second place in the CCHA with Bemidji State with 18 points at 8-6-1 overall and 6-5-1 in the league, though NMU has played either two or four more league games than every other CCHA team.

Five of the Saturday’s six regulation goals came in a pair of short bursts.

Following a scoreless first period, the teams combined for three goals in 2:09 before the second period was six minutes old.

NMU sophomore forward Mack Byers extended his career-long goal and point streaks to three games with a goal 3:20 into the period. He shot it through the five-hole after skating the puck through the offensive zone and ripping a shot from the near faceoff dot, according to an account from NMU Sports Information. Bo Hanson earned an assist.

Then the Falcons erased their deficit and took the lead with goals barely a minute apart and barely a minute after Byers scored. After a series of shots, Sam Craggs tied it 1-1 at 4:26 before Spencer Schneider scored after a weird bounce following a lifted backhand shot at 5:29.

It prompted a change in the NMU net from freshman Charlie Glockner to DiMatteo.

Late in the second, the only score that wasn’t part of a multigoal flurry tied the game 2-2 when Vanderbeck got one in with 3:07 left.

Teammate Hank Crone skated along the boards before sending a pass to Vanderbeck in the slot. The team’s leading scorer fired a wrist shot as Trevor Cosgrove also picked up an assist, according to NMU SI.

In the third period, the Wildcats retook the lead with 7:34 left on a goal by Andre Ghantous that was assisted by Joseph Nardi and Cosgrove. Ghantous carried the puck over the blue line on a rush, passing it to Nardi, who was out front. Nardi then sent a blind pass back to Ghantous, who lifted the puck over BGSU goalie Christian Stoever.

But the Falcons (7-4-3, 5-4-1 CCHA) needed just 34 seconds to answer with the game-tying goal scored by T.J. Lloyd in front of DiMatteo.

Glockner finished with 10 saves in about 25 minutes between the pipes, while DiMatteo had 18, including five in overtime. Stoever made 31 saves, including 14 in the second period and one in OT.

Northern’s Ben Newhouse blocked a team-high four shots, giving him 50 for the season as he has been among the nation’s leaders.

Next up for the Wildcats is a nonconference series at home against Minnesota-Duluth at 6:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.

Friday’s game will be Rock Your Socks Night at the BEC with fans encouraged to bring new socks to toss on the ice during the first intermission to be given to a local charity.

At Saturday’s game, The Mining Journal and the NMU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will partner for the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Similar to the previous night, fans can bring new stuffed toys to toss on the ice during the first intermission and be given to a local charity.

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


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