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Thursday March 21, 2019
Huskies Edge Wildcats For Weekend Hockey Split

This story was written by NMU Sports Information

-Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (21-12-3, 19-7-2-2 WCHA) settled for a split in the final series of the regular season after falling, 3-2, to Michigan Technological University (16-15-5, 11-11-5-2 WCHA) to end the 2017-18 regular season.

Special teams were the story of the contest with all five combined goals of the contest being scored in the power play. The Wildcats jumped out to the early lead scoring twice in the opening period. Junior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) got the scoring started with his 17th of the season at 11:41 of the period.

Sophomore defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota)and junior forward Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) earned their 21st and 30th assists on the play, respectively.

In the final minutes of the first period, Beaulieu fired a shot from the blue line that was redirected at the net by junior forward Denver Pierce (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan).

Pierce deflected the puck into the net at the 17:28 mark for his ninth goal of the season with Beaulieu picking up his second assist of the game. Loggins was also credited with an assist for his 20th of the season and second point of the contest.

The Huskies took over in the second period, scoring three power play goals to take a 3-2 lead. NMU was outshot in the period with MTU owning a 31-15 advantage through two periods. Junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) recorded double digits saves in both of the first two periods, making 13 in the first and 15 in the second.

NMU saw a number of opportunities in the final period, outshooting the Huskies 14-5 in the period while also having a five-minute advantage. The Wildcats were not able to extend the game, though, falling by a score of 3-2.

Despite the loss, NMU ends the regular season with one of the best records in recent program history. It is the first time since the 2009-10 season that the Wildcats have won 20 contests, while they still have a chance to earn 25 victories this season for the first time since 2001-02. The 19 conference wins are the most league wins for NMU since the 1990-91 NMU National Championship team that went 25-4-3 to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season championship.

NMU will now turn its attention to the first round of the WCHA Playoffs in the Berry Events Center. The Wildcats will host Alabama-Huntsville.

All three games for next weekend's opening round of the WCHA Playoffs are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start in the Berry Events Center and will be a "White Out".

Friday and Saturday's games are sponsored by Veridea Group and Advanced Center for Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery with the first 1,000 fans both nights receiving a white Wildcat tee-shirt. Sunday's game will be played, if necessary, in the best-of-three series.

Tickets for the first-round series are on sale now through all NMU Ticket Outlets.

Games during the first-round series will be played on Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday, if necessary. All game times will be 7 p.m.

This story is about Friday night's game

Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (21-11-3, 19-6-2-2 WCHA) earned their ninth-consecutive win in the Berry Events Center Friday evening with a 2-1 victory over Michigan Technological University (16-15-5, 11-11-5-2 WCHA) on senior night.

Neither team was able to put a shot into the net during the first period. The Wildcats fell behind early in the shot column but managed to end the period with an 8-7 shot advantage. Additionally, NMU killed a Huskie power play late in the period with less than three minutes to play.

Each team found a score in the second period with MTU getting on the board first.  The Huskies took the lead six minutes into the period, but it did not take long for the Wildcats to net a goal of their own.

Midway through the period, senior forward Robbie Payne (Gaylord, Michigan) scored his 20th goal of the season to knot the game at one goal each. The score came at 10:15 and was assisted by junior defenseman Ryan Black (Stillwater, Minnesota) and sophomore defenseman Philip Beaulieu(Duluth, Minnesota).

The goal was the moved Payne into a tie for seventh nationally this season, while it also marked his sixth goal against MTU in his career. For his career, Payne now has 50 goals making him the 35thplayer in NMU history to reach the mark.

It did not take long for the Wildcats to take the lead in the final period, scoring less than five minutes into the third. Sophomore forward Darien Craighead (Surrey, British Columbia) took a pass across the ice to send it into the back of the net. His 17th goal of the season was assisted by Payne and senior defenseman Jordan Klimek (Langley, British Columbia) to seal the Wildcat victory.

With the win, junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) picked up his 19th victory of the season which is tied for the third most in the NCAA. Tolvanen record 17 saves to lower his save percentage to .904 and his goals against average to 2.39 this season.

By earning three league points with the win, the Wildcats locked in the second seed in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs with help from a Bowling Green State University loss. NMU's opponent is yet to be determined with the University of Alabama-Huntsville, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Ferris State University, and Lake State University vying for playoff berths or seeding.

The regular season will come to a close Saturday when the Wildcats travel to Houghton, Michigan to finish the home-and-home series with MTU. The contest is slated to begin at 7:07 p.m. in the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

NMU will also host a first round WCHA Playoff series in the Berry Events Center. Tickets for the first-round series are on sale now through all NMU Ticket Outlets. Games during the first-round series will be played on Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday, if necessary. All game times will be 7 p.m.

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