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6006 articles
Monday July 22, 2024
SURVIVE & ADVANCE: 'Cats Eliminate Bemidji St.

This story was written by NMU Sports Information. Click the AUDIO buttons to hear RRN interviews with David Keefer, Beni Halaz, and Coach Grant Potulny.

The Northern Michigan University hockey team took care of business and completed the series sweep over the Bemidji State Beavers, winning 2-1 in dramatic fashion in overtime with David Keefer scoring the game-winning goal, and punching the 'Cats ticket to the Mason Cup Semifinals next weekend.

The 'Cats will travel to Houghton, Michigan to face the Michigan Tech Huskies in a Mason Cup semi-final matchup on Saturday, March 11. The Wildcats will go into Houghton riding a six-game win streak. 

David Keefer's scored the overtime tally for the Green and Gold, giving the senior his team-leading 15th goal of the season. Alex Frye also found the back of the net for the 'Cats, giving him his fourth goal and 16th point, and Beni Halasz stood on his head stopping 35 of 36 shots against for a stellar .972 SV%.

The Wildcats were outshot 36-22, went 4/5 on the PK and 0/2 on the PP, won 31 faceoffs to BSU's 25, and blocked a substantial 31 shots. 

The game started with the Beavers controlling play, amassing four shots on goal before the 'Cats could register one. There were a couple of chances for the 'Cats early to generate, but both plays were called for offsides before the play could develop.

The 'Cats were awarded a power play opportunity and moved the puck around well but failed to beat Sholl on the two shots on target. On the other end, Beni Halasz had a mad scramble in front of him and tracked the puck well to stay square and make a good positional save on a dangerous chance.

Halasz had to stay sharp once again as a Wildcat defender fanned on a cross-ice pass and the puck landed on a streaking Beaver forward. He shot glove side, but Beni flashed the leather on the dangerous chance. Moments later he made an athletic cross-crease save on a dangerous two-on-one chance from in tight.

The scoreboard showed zeroes heading into the first intermission, but there was plenty of action to be had. The Beavers heavily outshot the Wildcats 16-9, the 'Cats had a slim margin of victory in the faceoff dot winning 10 of 19, sacrificed the body by blocking nine shots to BSU's one, and the 'Cats successfully killed both of their penalties.

Beni Halasz continued to be the story at the start of the middle frame, making five key saves in the first five minutes to keep the game scoreless. Just over the halfway mark, Andre Ghantous and Michael Colella were on a 2-on-1. Ghantous fed the puck to Colella, but it was just ahead of his stick for an easy tap-in. 

After some great offensive pressure, Alex Frye received a pass from Michael Van Unen in the right faceoff dot and fired a deceptive shot through the wickets of Mattias Sholl to give the 'Cats a 1-0 lead halfway through the game. AJ Vanderbeeck picked up the secondary assist on the goal. 

The 'Cats were whistled for a holding penalty, and the Beavers finally broke through on a pass through the crease that found the stick of Ross Armour who deflected the puck past Halasz on the far side to tie the game at one. Northern responded really well following the goal, generating a breakaway followed by quality chances and zone time, but failed to beat Sholl.

The teams skated to their respective locker rooms even once again, but this time each team scored a goal. The Beavers outshot the 'Cats 14-8, won a slim margin in the faceoff dot with nine of 17, and the Beavers converted on their only power play opportunity. 

Six seconds into the period, Connor Eddy was whistled for a rare "face-off infraction delay of game" penalty, and the 'Cats had work to do immediately into the final frame. The 'Cats would go on to successfully kill the penalty, capped off by Vincent de Mey clearing a loose puck in the crease to keep the game even.

The 'Cats were once again whistled for an infraction, this time it was a tripping minor five minutes in. Special teams continued to be a focal point for the Green and Gold as they killed off another crucial penalty, highlighted by Tanner Vescio sacrificing the body and Beni Halasz making an athletic east-to-west save. 

The game progressed with each team making sure to not make any mistakes defensively, and the tug-of-war match continued with neither team making ground or gaining an edge over the other. Neither team was able to solve the goalies, and the teams skated to overtime. 

It only took a minute and seven seconds before Kristof Papp fired a puck on net and the rebound landed right on David Keefer's stick who had a wide-open net to look at and made no mistake to fire the puck into the cage and send the 'Cats to the second round of the playoffs. Colby Enns picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
  • The 'Cats successfully punched their ticket to the second round of the Mason Cup Playoffs after defeating the Beavers 2-1 in overtime. The 'Cats now ride a six-game winning streak and improve to 4-0 in overtime on the season. 
  • David Keefer scored the game-winner in overtime to send the 'Cats onward. David Keefer now rides a three-game point streak (3G, 1A). 
  • Alex Frye opened the scoring for the Wildcats and is also riding a three-game point streak after netting a goal tonight (1G, 2A). This was Frye's first goal since January 7. 
  • Beni Halasz showed up in a big way for the 'Cats, posting a 35-save performance and a .972 SV%.
  • Kristof PappAJ VanderbeckColby Enns, and Michael Van Unen all registered assists. 

Scoring Summary

10:00 - Alex Frye (NMU, 1-0), Assisted by Michael Van Unen and AJ Vanderbeck.
16:16 - Ross Armour (BSU PP, 1-1), Assisted by Carter Jones and Will Zmolek.


1:07 - David Keefer (NMU GWG, 2-1), Assisted by Kristof Papp and Colby Enns.

Up Next
The 'Cats will travel to Houghton, Michigan to face the Michigan Tech Huskies in a Mason Cup semi-final matchup on Saturday, March 11.

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