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Monday, November 05, 2007

NMU swept by No. 1 RedHawks

by Kyle Whitney/ Northern Michigan Beat Writer

In a weekend series with the top-ranked Miami RedHawks, the Northern Michigan Wildcats were swept, 9-2 and 3-2, in back-to-back nights.

On Friday, the Wildcats (1-7-0 overall, 0-6-0 CCHA) fell behind early - trailing 3-0 at the first intermission - and were never able to slow down the streaking RedHawks, who scored the nine markers on just 30 shots.

Northern Michigan controlled the play through the first half of the second period and was, in fact, able to cut the lead to 3-1. Miami quickly broke open the floodgates with a Ryan Jones power-play goal at the 13:28 mark.

When all was said and done on Friday, Jones had given the best performance of his collegiate career, picking up four goals and an assist in the game.

Wildcat goals came in from Gregor Hanson and Matt Siddall.

On Saturday, the Wildcats jumped out to an early lead, scoring back-to-back shorthanded goals during a 49-second span in the first period. Siddall and Nick Sirota notched goals during the same Miami power play.

“[Those were] great plays by their players, very well-executed, and that’s all you can say,” Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said of the shorthanded tallies. “Sometimes the other team makes great plays and you’ve just got to live with it."

Miami soon took to the offensive once again, though, scoring three unanswered power-play goals to win going away.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the country and they definitely showed it Friday and Saturday in two different ways,” Siddall said. “They are an exceptional team and they’re going to be one of the best teams in the country all year long.”

Wildcat freshman Reid Ellingson made his first career start on Saturday night and allowed three goals on 32 shots. His .906 save percentage is currently the best on the Wildcat team.

Saturday's contest was the fifth one-goal game that NMU has been in this season. In those games, Northern is 1-4.

The Wildcats will now prepare to face off against the Western Michigan Broncos in Marquette. And as the 'Cats look for their first conference win, they must put their six-game losing streak behind them.

“It’s another tough one to swallow,” Siddall said. “It just takes the words out of your mouth.”

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