The patron saint of goaltenders must have a special affection for the Northern Michigan Wildcats: how else to explain freshman netminder Jared Coreau's stunning performance in Saturday's 3-2 win over conference-leading Notre Dame? The Irish outshot the 'Cats 55-15 on their home ice, but it was Coreau and the 'Cats who skated off with the victory.
However, the patron saint must have taken a day of rest on Sunday, as the Irish backed up their 43 shots with a 5-2 win.On Friday, Northern only got five shots in the first period, but managed to convert on two. Both goals came on the power play: Tyler Gron scored first, with assists by Greger Hanson and Kyle Follmer. And in the last minute of the period, Phil Fox and Stephan Vigier set up Scott Macaulay to make it 2-0.
Notre Dame spent most of the second period peppering Coreau, but only Wildcat Brian Nugent, with some help from Macaulay and Erik Higby, could manage to light the lamp.
The Irish cut the 'Cats' lead to one in the final stanza, but Coreau and the Wildcat defense held on for the win.
On Sunday, Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Mike Maltese banged in a power play goal to make it 2-1. Hanson and CJ Ludwig assisted on the play.
Maltese, along with Andrew Fernandez, then set up Nicholas Kosinski to tie up the game early in the third period. But Notre Dame scored three unanswered goals, including an empty-netter, to seal the 5-2 win and force the 'Cats to settle for a split.
Northern goalie Reid Ellingson had 38 stops in the loss.
The 'Cats (8-8-3, 7-5-2-0 CCHA) and the Irish will go another round in mid-January. Until then, the Wildcats will take a break from conference play: they return home this weekend for a Friday night faceoff with UP rival Michigan Tech of the WCHA, and then take on Denver over New Year's weekend.