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Light the lamps

MARQUETTE – Rivalry weekend started Friday night as heated foes Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech universities took to the ice in front of a raucous and packed Berry Events Center at NMU.

The Wildcats fired pucks at the net all game, outshooting Tech 46-21 en route to a 4-1 win in their first WCHA game of the season. Wildcats goalie Atte Tolvanen made 20 saves to pick up the first win of his collegiate career.

“I thought tonight we took a big step from last weekend and I thought that our quality of play was really good,” NMU head coach Walt Kyle said after the Wildcats split a nonconference home-and-home series with Lake Superior State. “They’re (Tech) a really good team and we have to reload (tonight) in a building that’s been difficult for us to play in.”

The home-and-home series moves to Houghton tonight.

Michigan Tech got on the board first early in the opening period. With the puck in the NMU zone, Huskies center Michael Neville backhanded a shot over Tolvanen’s blocker.

As the period went on, NMU started to generate more scoring chances in front of Tech goalie Jamie Phillips.

Finally, they caught Phillips on an error. The senior netminder tried to make a save, but the puck veered to the side of the net where Wildcats center Casey Purpur pocketed his first goal this season.

“They’re a tough team,” NMU winger John Siemer said. “Since I’ve been here, they’ve been tough to play against. We knew we had to bring it tonight and it was a good game.”

Whiel both teams’ offenses were clicking early in the second period, the goalies came up big.

At one point with the puck right in front of the net, Tolvanen made back-to-back saves. The puck then squirted free to Siemer who streaked up ice on a breakaway. However, Phillips stood tall and easily stopped Siemer’s shot.

Phillips continued to play well a bit later when he made three key stops on an NMU power play.

Then Tech’s defense fell apart midway through the period when Northern pocketed two goals barely a minute apart.

Siemer capitalized on his second big opportunity, flicking the puck over Phillips’ glove to put NMU ahead 2-1. Some 63 seconds later, the Wildcats went up by two goals as Troy Loggins created a turnover behind the Tech net and fed the puck to freshman Denver Pierce, who tucked the puck past Phillips.

Late in the period, Tolvanen made the advantage hold up. With Tech on a five-minute power play, the freshman made three sprawling saves to keep Tech from scoring again.

Siemer felt that the penalty kill was the turning point for his team.

“When any penalty is killed, our team just builds on that,” he said. “We pick each other up, we stay positive and just keep going with the grind. We were pressuring the puck. We were all over them as soon as they got it and that’s what Walt has been telling us to do.”

The Wildcats opened the third period with their own five-minute power play thanks to a major penalty and game misconduct for kneeing and game misconduct assessed to the Huskies’ Jake Jackson.

Midway through the man advantage, after a series of seven passes, Darren Nowick fired a shot past Phillips’ blocker and the score was 4-1. The Wildcats stayed in control of the puck for the rest of the game.

When asked how it felt getting his first career win, Tolvanen smiled and had a simple answer.

“What better team to get it against than Tech?” he said.

The two teams will tangle again at 7:07 p.m. tonight in Houghton.

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

Light the lamps

By RYAN STIEG

Journal Sports Writer

MARQUETTE – Rivalry weekend started Friday night as heated foes Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech universities took to the ice in front of a raucous and packed Berry Events Center at NMU.

The Wildcats fired pucks at the net all game, outshooting Tech 46-21 en route to a 4-1 win in their first WCHA game of the season. Wildcats goalie Atte Tolvanen made 20 saves to pick up the first win of his collegiate career.

“I thought tonight we took a big step from last weekend and I thought that our quality of play was really good,” NMU head coach Walt Kyle said after the Wildcats split a nonconference home-and-home series with Lake Superior State. “They’re (Tech) a really good team and we have to reload (tonight) in a building that’s been difficult for us to play in.”

The home-and-home series moves to Houghton tonight.

Michigan Tech got on the board first early in the opening period. With the puck in the NMU zone, Huskies center Michael Neville backhanded a shot over Tolvanen’s blocker.

As the period went on, NMU started to generate more scoring chances in front of Tech goalie Jamie Phillips.

Finally, they caught Phillips on an error. The senior netminder tried to make a save, but the puck veered to the side of the net where Wildcats center Casey Purpur pocketed his first goal this season.

“They’re a tough team,” NMU winger John Siemer said. “Since I’ve been here, they’ve been tough to play against. We knew we had to bring it tonight and it was a good game.”

Whiel both teams’ offenses were clicking early in the second period, the goalies came up big.

At one point with the puck right in front of the net, Tolvanen made back-to-back saves. The puck then squirted free to Siemer who streaked up ice on a breakaway. However, Phillips stood tall and easily stopped Siemer’s shot.

Phillips continued to play well a bit later when he made three key stops on an NMU power play.

Then Tech’s defense fell apart midway through the period when Northern pocketed two goals barely a minute apart.

Siemer capitalized on his second big opportunity, flicking the puck over Phillips’ glove to put NMU ahead 2-1. Some 63 seconds later, the Wildcats went up by two goals as Troy Loggins created a turnover behind the Tech net and fed the puck to freshman Denver Pierce, who tucked the puck past Phillips.

Late in the period, Tolvanen made the advantage hold up. With Tech on a five-minute power play, the freshman made three sprawling saves to keep Tech from scoring again.

Siemer felt that the penalty kill was the turning point for his team.

“When any penalty is killed, our team just builds on that,” he said. “We pick each other up, we stay positive and just keep going with the grind. We were pressuring the puck. We were all over them as soon as they got it and that’s what Walt has been telling us to do.”

The Wildcats opened the third period with their own five-minute power play thanks to a major penalty and game misconduct for kneeing and game misconduct assessed to the Huskies’ Jake Jackson.

Midway through the man advantage, after a series of seven passes, Darren Nowick fired a shot past Phillips’ blocker and the score was 4-1. The Wildcats stayed in control of the puck for the rest of the game.

When asked how it felt getting his first career win, Tolvanen smiled and had a simple answer.

“What better team to get it against than Tech?” he said.

The two teams will tangle again at 7:07 p.m. tonight in Houghton.

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