ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (1-2-0, 0-0-0-0 WCHA) fell, 4-1, to open a series with No. 4 St. Cloud State University (3-0-0, 0-0-0-0 NCHC) Saturday evening in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. The Wildcats will look for their second-consecutive series split to begin the season when the two teams match up on Saturday.
Despite taking 18 shots in the opening period, the Wildcats held their opponents to just eight shots on-goal in the opening 20 minutes. With the Huskies high-powered offense, they eventually put one into the net just eight minutes into the opening period. Each team had two opportunities in the power-play during the first period, but the SCSU score was the lone goal of the period.
It was much of the same story in the second period with the Huskies more than doubling the Wildcat shot attempts. NMU fell into a two-goal deficit just two minutes into the period when their opponents found their second goal of the game. Six minutes later, a power-play goal gave SCSU a 3-0 lead with 12 minutes to play in the second period.
FIRST COLLEGIATE GOAL
Just before the end of the period, the Wildcats connected on a power-play opportunity to cut the deficit back to a pair. With the man advantage, freshman forward Griffin Loughran (West Seneca, New York) scored his first collegiate goal with 11 seconds remaining in the second period with assists going to senior defenseman Ryan Black (Stillwater, Minnesota) and sophomore forward Mitchel Slattery (Lino Lakes, Minnesota). For Black, it is his second assist of the season.
NMU picked up the offensive intensity in the second half, edging their opponents, 10-9, in shots on-goal. Despite the offensive pressure, NMU could not trim the lead and SCSU added a fourth and final goal in the contest. Near the midway point of the final period, the Huskies went up, 4-1, and hung on the rest of the way for the victory to open the series.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Senior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) saw plenty of action Friday night facing 33 shots on-goal. He finished the contest with 29 saves, including 14 in the second period alone. Tolvanen now has 96 saves on the season, good enough for a .906 save percentage. Currently, his 96 saves are tied for third most in the NCAA.
PLENTY OF SPECIAL TEAMS
Both teams combined for 11 power-play chances in the game with each squad recording one goal in the advantage. The Wildcats now have four special teams goals through the first four games of the season, three power-play scores and a shorthanded goal.
NMU will look for their second-consecutive series split to begin the season when they face-off with the Huskies on Saturday evening. The puck will drop an hour earlier at 7:07 p.m. (EDT) in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.