MARQUETTE, Mich. - Sophomore Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alta.) scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime and senior Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) broke the career-saves record to give Northern Michigan University the 5-4 victory over University of Alaska Fairbanks in the first game of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Quarterfinals.
BREAKING ANOTHER RECORD
Tolvanen broke his fourth school record in the second period. Entering the game, the senior was just 12 saves away from breaking the all-time saves record of 3,434. He collected his 12th save early in the second period and finished the game with 38 saves to give him 3,461 in his career.
Last week he posted 58 saves in a win over Michigan Technological University to break the former mark of 57 saves set in December of 1984. On Saturday, he got the start to make his 133rd career appearance to set another record. He finished the weekend with a 3-0 shutout for his 13th career shutout which is also a school record.
The visitors took the lead late in the first period when they scored at the 16:38 mark to enter the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
NMU tied the game in the second period, scoring just 2:09 into the period to make it 1-1. The Wildcats then took the lead a little over a minute later and gave NMU a 2-1 lead. However, that lead lasted just seven minutes as the Nanooks tied the game at the 10:30 mark. Two minutes later, they took the lead back, then added a third goal 16:05 into the period and took a 4-2 lead into the third period.
NARDI TIES IT
Nardi tied the game just 2:09 into the second period by scoring the first Wildcat goal of the night. It was his eighth of the season as freshman Griffin Loughran (West Seneca, N.Y.) got his 12th assist this year and Ty Readman (Edmonton, Alta.) tallied his eighth.
TAKING A LEAD
Scoring his fourth goal of the year, freshman Vincent de Mey (Los Angeles, Calif.) gave NMU the lead just over a minute later, 3:31 into the period. Senior Connor Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) and sophomore Mitchel Slattery (Lino Lakes, Minn.) both notched their second assist of the night.
Facing a 4-2 deficit entering the third period, the Wildcats managed to narrow the game 5:41 in with a goal. NMU was able to keep Alaska Fairbanks from scoring again to give them a chance to tie. With just 14 seconds left, the Wildcats managed to get one past the Nanook goaltender to tie the game at 4-4 and force overtime.
NARROWING THE GAP
After getting an assist in the second period, Loughran found the back of the net for the sixth time this season to make it 4-3. Nardi would get the assist on the goal for his 10th of the year along with junior Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minn.) getting his 27th.
The Wildcats tied the game with 14 seconds left with senior Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, B.C.) getting his seventh goal of the year. Junior Darien Craighead (Surrey, B.C.) posted his 10th assist of the year and Beaulieu added his 28th.
The teams played a 20-minute first overtime but neither team was able to get one into the net which forced another 20-minute sudden death overtime. In the second overtime, Beaulieu was able to get the puck to Loughran, who then circled around the net and found Nardi for the game-winner at the 10:30 mark. It was Nardi's second goal of the game while Loughran notched his third point and Beaulieu got his second assist.
The teams will return for game two of the series Saturday night. NMU will advance to the WCHA Semifinals with a win. If UAF takes victory, the teams will return for the deciding third game Sunday night.