NMU icers extend win streak to 5 Friday

By Journal Sports Staff

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The big question going into the Northern Michigan University hockey team’s long trip to Alaska was whether fatigue would catch up with the Wildcats at some point.

On Friday night, it looked that it might be the night it would happen, but NMU dug deep to get a 5-1 win over Alaska-Anchorage.

The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead late in the first period and stayed ahead the rest of the way for their fifth win in a row. The victory also moved Northern (12-10, 11-4 WCHA) into second place in the league after Michigan Tech defeated the former No. 2 team, Bowling Green, 2-0 on Friday.

Northern may have been the team that put up the goals, but the Seawolves (2-18-1, 1-13-1) were the ones who looked sharp early as Nils Rygaard forced Wildcats goalie Atte Tolvanen to make a sprawling save just two minutes in.

UAA held NMU to one quality scoring chance over the majority of the period.

With time winding down in the period, the Wildcats began to generate offense, cashing in when Griffin Loughran fed a pass to Joe Nardi in the slot and beat UAA goalie Kristian Stead high-glove.

A little more than a minute later, Northern struck again when Troy Loggins raced up ice on a breakaway, but his shot went off the post. With the puck sitting in the crease, Denver Pierce tapped in the rebound and NMU led 2-0.

The Seawolves didn’t go away, though. They came out in the second period with more jump and put pressure on Tolvanen and the NMU defense. With 12:20 left, Tolvanen had to make his two biggest saves of the night as he stopped Zach Court to the near post, but sent a rebound over to Nicolas Erb-Ekholm and was forced to slide across the crease to keep the Seawolves scoreless.

With 6:15 left, Anchorage scored when Jonah Renouf sent a pass to the slot and Jeremiah Luedtke one-timed the puck in.

But just as it looked like the Seawolves might be on the cusp of tying the game, NMU’s Garrett Klee ended that idea five minutes later. Klee got a pass from Grant Loven, moved toward the far post and beat Stead top shelf for his first career goal. With Klee’s tally, NMU led 3-1 and took all the momentum.

The Wildcats put two more goals up in the final period. At 11:22, the Wildcats came into the UAA defensive zone, where Loughran passed the puck over to Ty Readman, whose shot was saved by Stead. However, Stead left a rebound in the crease and Nardi pushed the puck past him for his second goal of the game.

Two minutes later with NMU on the power play, Stead made a kick save on a Phil Beaulieu shot, but he sent the puck to Adam Rockwood, who scored into the open net.

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