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Monday, November 22, 2010

Wildcats earn three points in Alaska

By Susannah Nichols/ Northern Michigan Beat Writer

The Northern Michigan Wildcats were outshot by the Alaska Nanooks in both of their weekend contests, but still, thanks to outstanding goaltending by Reid Ellingson, the 'Cats returned home with a tie, a win, and a share of the No. 4 spot in the CCHA standings.

The Nanooks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period of Friday's game. The 'Cats could only generate 22 shots to Alaska's 35, but the stalwart Ellingson kept his team's hopes alive.

With just under four minutes left in the game, Tyler Gron lit the lamp to tie up the score. Kyle Follmer earned the assist.

Follmer also got the only shot for Northern in overtime, but neither team could score. The game ended in a 1-1 stalemate, with Alaska winning the shootout 2-1.

Ellingson finished with 34 saves in Friday's game and didn't miss a beat going into Saturday's game. Once again, he had to withstand a barrage of Nanook shots, but this time, his team seized the lead first.

Andrew Cherniwchan scored an even-strength goal at 12:18 of the third. Cherniwchan got some help by a pair of freshman in Erik Higby and Stephan Vigier.

The Nanooks pulled their goalie in the last minute, but that only allowed Cherniwchan to set up Justin Florek for an empty-net goal.

Ellingson finished with 41 saves, but he'd have liked it to have been 42. Alaska slammed in a last-second goal to deny him the shutout and make the final score 2-1.

The 'Cats are now 5-6-2, 5-4-1-0 in conference play. They'll take a break from CCHA action next weekend, when they'll travel to Bemidji State for Friday and Saturday games.

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