By Matt Mackinder/Michigan Beat Writer
Never in their 86-year history has Michigan tied three straight games, but after knotting Northern Michigan in consecutive home games last weekend, history was made.
In Friday’s game, despite out-shooting the Wildcats by a 44-24 margin and holding two one-goal leads, the Maize and Blue could not pull through with an outright win. Senior captain Kevin Porter and Max Pacioretty each tallied a power-play goal and an assist in the game, while Travis Turnbull chipped in a marker of his own.
Gregor Hanson, Matt Butcher and Mark Olver scored for NMU.
Brian Stewart stopped 41 shots for the Wildcats and Billy Sauer made 21 saves for the Wolverines.
"We did not come prepared,” Michigan forward Chad Kolarik said. “We just did not do it today. We were a little loose in the locker room, and we like to be a little loose, but not that loose. We took it for granted."
“For the first 10 minutes, we were on our heels, we weren't as sharp, they were taking it to us, and it could have been 2-0 or 3-0 in the first 10 minutes,” added U-M head coach Red Berenson. “Then I thought that the last seven or eight minutes we started to play better and then for the most part we were in the game and we were playing well. The game comes down to mistakes and penalties."
Saturday night, the Wildcats erased a two-goal deficit to force another 3-3 tie.
Butcher scored midway through the second period and Nick Sirota tied the game seven minutes into the third period for Northern Michigan, who got a 34-save performance from Stewart.
Sauer was given the night off and Bryan Hogan turned aside 18 shots for Michigan.
"Bryan Hogan battled – that early goal was a tough goal to give up,” said Berenson. “Both of these games were tough games for our goalies to play because they didn't see a lot of shots, and then when they did it was important, obviously. There was a near-breakaway on one of (Northern Michigan's) goals and Billy Sauer had the same type of play last night. So, our goaltending needs to stay focused just like the rest of our game. I thought Hogan did fine."
Carl Hagelin, Louie Caporusso and Kolarik registered Michigan’s goals.
Ray Kaunisto scored the other Wildcats’ goal.
Michigan (22-3-3, 15-2-3 CCHA) travels to Miami to play a pair against the top-ranked RedHawks this weekend, while NMU (10-15-3, 7-11-2 CCHA) has two at home against Michigan State.