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Sunday, January 21, 2007

NMU Wildcats sweep Bowling Green

The Northern Michigan Wildcats picked up their first sweep of the season against Bowling Green as they dropped the Falcons 4-1 on back-to-back nights in Marquette.

NMU established a solid 3-0 lead on a goal from Mike Santorelli and a pair of Darin Olver markers. BGSU's Tomas Petruska cut the lead to 3-1 midway through the final period, but a Zach Tarkir goal at the 15:24 mark capped the scoring and sealed the win for the Wildcats.

NMU outshot BGSU 26-22 on the night. NMU netminder Bill Zaniboni stopped 21 of 22 shots while Bowling Green's Jimmy Spratt rejected 22 of 26 shots.

Despite the victory, the 'Cats commited 12 penalties and were only 1-8 on the power-play. The performance was sub-par in their minds.

"We didn't play the game that we needed to play tonight or for the rest of the year to be successful," Olver said. "Something is going to have to be done tomorrow night."

Northern once again jumped out to a quick advantage, leading 3-0 after two periods. The lead came thanks to goals from Rob Lehtinen, Tarkir and Santorelli. Petruska again scored the lone Falcon goal and the scoring was capped when Olver scored on an empty net in the last two minutes of play.

"We gave ourselves a chance, but we have to be more consistent scoring goals," BGSU head coach Scott Paluch said. "We're putting way too much pressure on ourselves scoring only one goal. Ultimately, falling behind isn't a good recipe to be successful in this league."

Bowling Green outshot NMU, 23-21 and goalie Eddie Neville stopped 17 of 20 shots on the night. In the other net, Zaniboni allowed a single goal for the third straight game, this time turning away 22 of 23 shots.

During the weekend, Santorelli picked up six points on two goals and four assists. The six points gave Santorelli 100 for his career, making him the 46th NMU player to reach the mark.

"Actually, I didn't even know about it," Santorelli said of the milestone. "It's a great accomplishment, but I'm just happy that we got the four points."

Santorelli now has 11 points in his last five games, while his 22 goals is good for second in the nation in that category.

The Wildcats (11-14-2, 8-11-1 CCHA) will now travel to Minnesota where they have a non-conference match against the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs on Wednesday night. The road trip continues into the weekend as the 'Cats engage in a CCHA weekend series with the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.

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