With two straight wins over Alaska-Fairbanks, the Northern Michigan Wildcats advance to the CCHA semifinals at Joe Louis Arena.
Friday's 4-3 victory was a true team effort, with both the usual suspects and new faces earning points. Gregor Hanson notched his 14th goal of the season less than two minutes into the game, with Kyle Follmer earning an assist. Midway through the period, Andrew Cherniwchan and Justin Florek combined to set up Andrew Fernandez for his first goal of the season. And less than a minute later, Follmer assisted on Tyler Gron's goal to put the 'Cats up 3-0.
In the second period, Follmer earned his second goal of the season and his third point of the night with some help from Cherniwchan and Matt Butcher.
Alaska outshot NMU by a margin of 35-24 over the course of the night, and that persistance, combined with four Alaska power plays in the second half of the game, led to a three unanswered goals by the Nanooks.
Brian Stewart managed to hang on for the win with 32 saves.
Although the scoreboard on Saturday suggested an easy victory, the 'Cats earned their 5-1 win. After being outshot 12-2 by the Nanooks in the first period, the 'Cats turned the tables in the second stanza. Florek (assisted by Mark Olver) scored the first goal of the game less than a minute into the second period, and Butcher lit the lamp four minutes later for a power play goal and a 2-0 lead. Cherniwchan and Follmer earned assists on his play.
Alaska converted on their own power play early in the third period, but Hanson extended Northern's lead with a goal at 13:03.
With just over three minutes to play, the Alaska net stood empty, and when Hanson and Erik Gustafsson seized control of the play, they were able to set up Gron for a goal. Ray Kaunisto sealed the deal with another empty-netter at 19:45.
Stewart finished with 30 saves.
The Wildcats' record now stands at 19-11-8 (13-9-6-3 in CCHA play). They will face the Ferris State. It is the seventh time the 'Cats have reached the conference tournament in the last eight years.