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NMU shut out, 1-0

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University hockey team was facing a crucial series this weekend that could have a big affect in the WCHA standings.

However, on Friday, the Wildcats couldn’t get anything going offensively and they fell to Bemidji (Minnesota) State 1-0 at the Berry events Center.

NMU tied the game with 12 seconds left in the contest.

But the goal was waved off and the Beavers picked up two points in the race for the last home playoff spot.

Despite the outcome, Wildcat head coach Walt Kyle was pleased with his team’s overall effort.

“I thought it was a good game,” he said. “We have to do a better job offensively, for sure. We had some really good looks at it. We have to make sure those opportunities go in.”

The first period was primarily dominated by the Beavers as BSU had several opportunities right in front of the net, but NMU goalie Michael Doan was able to weather the storm.

The Wildcats also killed two penalties early in the frame, which was important as BSU was frequently buzzing around the net.

NMU had its best chance to score in the closing seconds of the period.

But Beavers goalie Michael Bitzer was just able to get his stick on the puck and keep the game scoreless.

“In the first period, they came out pretty strong,” Doan said. “Not that we didn’t play well; they just got a lot of pucks to the net.”

The second period started off slow as neither team was able to keep the puck in the opposing zone.

Toward the end of the frame, BSU defenseman Sam Rendle got the Beavers on the board when his shot rang off the pipe and past Doan.

“I saw the guy release the shot and I thought it was going to go a little bit higher,” Doan said. “I think it might have went underneath my glove.

“I saw it whiz by at the last second. I went down behind the screen to try and stop it and unfortunately, it went in.”

NMU had a couple of chances as the final seconds ticked down, but Bitzer came up big again for the Beavers.

NMU started off the third period firing at will at the net, but did not get any results.

After the first few minutes, the quality of play reverted back to the previous period with both teams struggling to move the puck effectively.

The Beavers had a chance late in the frame as the puck appeared to ricochet off Doan’s pad, but somehow managed to stay out of the net.

With 1:30 left, NMU pulled Doan for the extra attacker.

After a scrum in front of the net, the Wildcats appeared to have scored as the puck went under Bitzer’s right pad.

However, the goal was waved off and the call was upheld after a review.

Kyle said he got an explanation about the no-goal call, but wasn’t going to complain about it.

“I’m not going to whine about it,” he said. “It is the way it is.

“I thought the ref needed to be in a better spot, but he saw it one way and we saw it another way.”

The Wildcats tangle with the Beavers again tonight at 7:07 in the BEC.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.