By Matt Mackinder/Michigan Beat Writer
Northern Michigan made the trip south to Ann Arbor this weekend and played well enough to settle for a split with host Michigan.
NMU took a 3-1 loss Friday night, ending UM's eight-game home unbeaten streak, but then the Wolverines rebounded for a 5-4 win last night with a big third period.
"You always need to make sure you're playing strong defensively," Michigan defenseman Greg Pateryn said last night. "A couple times, we were going back to the puck and they got good chances. We were doing things right. We were getting the puck off the glass and out of the zone. Just doing the simple things, especially when we're up like that. If you do the simple things right, good things will happen for you."
Greger Hanson and Phil Fox staked the Wildcats to a 2-1 lead late in the first period before Carl Hagelin made it a one-goal game.
Jared Brown, who also assisted on the first two goals, added an empty-netter to seal the game for NMU.
“We started off with four straight penalties in the first,” Northern Michigan head coach Walt Kyle said to USCHO. “The penalty killers did a great job and we were able to weather that storm. I thought (NMU goalie Brian) Stewart was outstanding. We got a couple of bounces and then we just gutted it out.”
Stewart made 38 saves, while Bryan Hogan finished with 18 stops for Michigan (18-16-1, 13-12-1-0 CCHA).
Saturday night, down 4-3 in the third period, Chad Langlais and Pateryn scored a minute apart to give the Wolverines a lead they would not relinquish.
"We have been a team that struggles to come back when we get on the wrong side of the score," Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. "Coming back was a good sign tonight. Giving up those quick goals in the third period was hurtful. Those are things you can correct. Those are our turnovers, our mistakes. Now it was an exciting game and a good game for the University of Michigan. We saw a lot of good things."
Luke Glendening, Kevin Lynch and Ben Winnett tallied in the middle period for the Wolverines to take a 3-2 lead into the third. Erik Gustafsson and Brown then scored for NMU in the final stanza to take the lead, setting the stage for Langlais and Pateryn to be the heroes. Pateryn's goal was also the sophomore's first collegiate tally.
"It's obviously a good feeling," Pateryn said. "I don't think it has hit me yet. Even though I scored a goal, I think there are a lot of things that I need to do better defensively in the zone. Being minus-2 tonight is not a good thing."
Hanson and Justin Florek also scored for the Wildcats, who got 27 saves out of Stewart.
With just under 90 seconds to go in the third, NMU pulled Stewart for the extra attacker. It nearly got the equalizer, only to see Mark Olver's shot in tight go off the crossbar.
"How can the best scorer in the league miss a shot like that?" asked Berenson. "He might have been in an awkward position. Our team was all over the map tonight. You saw the worst and best of our team and sadly the worst came out in the third period."
Hogan finished with 23 saves for the win.
Michigan hosts Notre Dame this Thursday night in their home finale before going to South Bend Saturday night to close out the regular season.
NMU (15-11-8, 11-9-6-3 CCHA) plays host to Lake Superior State to wind-up both teams' regular season slate.