MARQUETTE, Mich. - The Northern Michigan University hockey team snapped a season-long losing streak with a 5-4 victory over Ferris State University Friday night.
The Wildcats, hungry to get back in the win column, took no time finding the back of the net as they took the 1-0 lead just 33 seconds into regulation. The Bulldogs answered right back, scoring a goal of their own at 4:10 of the first period to make it a 1-1 game. They would strike again with 7:15 left in the period for the 2-1 lead.
FSU would strike once more in the opening period, capitalizing on the power play, but the Wildcats got one back with less than a minute to go for the 3-2 Bulldogs' lead after 20 minutes of play.
A slower second period in regards to goals, both teams spent the majority of the middle frame firing shots on net but unable to break either goaltender. Mike Van Unen changed that when he went top-shelf on the breakaway to knot things up 3-3 with 8:42 remaining in the middle frame, a score that would carry the Wildcats into the second intermission.
With momentum from the second period goal in their favor, the Wildcats broke the stalemate just under five minutes into the third period when Nardi scored his second goal of the night.
AJ Vanderbeck continued the charge for NMU, finding the back of the net at 10:14 of the final period to make it a 5-3 game.
Opting for the extra attacker, FSU made it a 5-4 game at 18:13 of the third period for the final goal of the contest.
With that, the Wildcats get their first conference win of the season and are now 1-2-0 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.
- Andre Ghantous set up the first goal of the night for the Wildcats, breaking multiple defensemen as he skated through the Bulldog zone. He sent the puck over to Joseph Nardi who stood at the ready, lighting the lamp with just 33 seconds elapsed in the first period.
- Griffin Loughran scored his first goal of the season in the final minute of the opening period, tucking the puck under the skate of an outstretched Bulldog netminder.
- Mike Van Unen knotted things up at 3-3 with a breakaway goal part way through the second period. As the puck came out of their attacking zone, Nardi sent it back to Ben Newhouse deep in the Wildcat zone to regroup. M. Van Unen slipped past a few defenders, where Newhouse found him all alone at the blue line. Skating in on the breakaway, M. Van Unen's patience paid off, sending the puck top-shelf for his second goal of the season.
- Nardi broke the tie at 4:46 of the third period, picking up the rebound to the left of FSU's Salmankangas for the virtually empty net. Ghantous and Loughran, who both assisted on his first goal of the night, also tallied apples on the shot.
- AJ Vanderbeck scored the Wildcats' fifth goal of the night, firing a rocket over the shoulder of the Bulldog netminder for the 5-3 tally. Tim Erkkila, who picked up the primary assist on the play, tallied his first career point on the sequence.
- Griffin Loughran, in his first game back, tallied three points on the night off a goal and two assists.
- Joseph Nardi led the team in points, picking up four as he registered two goals and two assists in the win. The two goals and four points ties his career-highs in both categories, having previously tallied four points against FSU in their road contest last month. In 2020-21, Nardi boasts nine points against the Bulldogs (4-5-9).
- Tim Erkkila tallied an assist on the final Wildcat goal of the evening, picking up his first career point as a Wildcat.
- Ben Newhouse and Erkkila both posted four blocked shots in the contest, tied for the team-lead.
- Alex Frye led the team in shots on goal with four while Nardi, Loughran, Ghantous and Vanderbeck each had three.
The Wildcats wrap up their regular season series with the Bulldogs tomorrow night with a 6:07 p.m. puck drop at the Berry Events Center.