PLYMOUTH, Mich. - The Northern Michigan University hockey (0-0-0, 0-0-0-0 WCHA) team will return from their first road trip of 2019-20 with confidence as they defeated the United States National Team Development Program (3-0-0, 3-0-0 USHL), 4-3, in an exhibition matchup Saturday evening at USA Hockey Arena. Four Wildcats found the back of the net in the contest, while nine individuals appeared on the final box score.
With the win, the Wildcats improve their all-time series record against the USNTDP to 7-1-1.
- The Wildcats found the back of the net first when freshman Andre Ghantous and senior Luke Voltin rushed down the ice forming a 2-on-1 situation. Ghantous fed the puck over to Voltin who fired it home for the early lead, just 1:32 into the game.
- NMU added to their lead at the 18:04 mark of the first period to give the Wildcats the 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Sophomore Ty Readman buried the puck deep past the USNTDP goaltender Grannan with assists credited to Vincent de Mey and Griffin Loughran.
- Having posted an assist on the first goal of the game, Ghantous recorded his first goal in a Wildcat sweater late in the second period to regain a two-goal lead as the team prepared for the final 20 minutes of regulation. Fellow rookie Jett Jungles had the lone assist on the goal.
- Sophomore Grant Loven finished the scoring for the Wildcats in Plymouth with 16:25 left in the game with assists to junior Adam Roeder and freshman Hank Sorensen.
The freshmen made their mark on their respective lines early with three newcomers adding their name to the box score Saturday night. Andre Ghantous led the team with a career-high two points on the night (1-1-2) while Jett Jungles and Hank Sorensen recorded helpers in their Wildcat debut.
ANSWERS IN NET
Sophomore netminder Nolan Kent and freshman John Hawthorne split time in net tonight with Kent getting the nod to start. In 29:27 of playing time, Kent stopped 10 shots on 11 attempts for a .909 save percentage. Hawthorne took over in net halfway through the game, making 15 saves on 17 shots for a .882 percentage in his debut for the Green and Gold, including a game-saving glove save as the clock expired to give the Wildcats the 4-3 final score.
- The Wildcats went 1-2 on the power play, while killing three of four opportunities for the USNTDP.
- Northern Michigan held a slim margin in shots on goal, outshooting their opponent 31-28 through 60 minutes of play.
- Griffin Loughran led the team in shots with six, while Andre Ghantous was close behind with five.
- Ghantous led the team in points with two on a goal and an assist.
The Wildcats open their regular season at home against the Spartans of Michigan State. Former CCHA rivals, the two teams have met on 71 occasions, including a series split last season in East Lansing. After dropping their first contest downstate, NMU came back to beat Michigan State, 4-3, on Saturday night. The Spartans own the all-time series with a 31-36-4 record, but the Wildcats have had the upper hand in recent memory with a 13-7-2 mark in the last 22 meetings.