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Sunday, October 16, 2011

NMU sweeps St. Cloud in home opener

By Susannah Nichols/ Northern Michigan Beat Writer

Walt Kyle's decision as to whether Jared Coreau or Reed Ellingson will be Northern Michigan's go-to goalie didn't get any easier this weekend--but Kyle probably isn't complaining. His Wildcats improved their season record to 3-1 with a pair of wins over the visiting St. Cloud State Huskies.

Fourteen different Wildcats earned points in Friday's 5-2 win and Saturday's 3-2 victory.

St. Cloud jumped out to a 1-0 lead in Friday's game, but Northern roared back with four straight goals. Less than a minute after the St. Cloud goal, Mitch Jones and Matt Thurber set up Reed Seckel for his second goal of the year.

Seckel and Thurber then connected to assist Kory Kaunisto's goal, and Andrew Cherniwchan made it a 3-1 game with some help from Stephan Vigier and Wade Epp. Kyle Follmer netted his first goal of the season in the last seconds of the second period; Cherniwchan and Scott Macaulay were credited with assists.

Late in the third, the Huskies pulled their goalie and scored with the extra attacker. But Tyler Gron answered, scoring an unassisted empty-netter to seal the 5-2 score.

In net for the Wildcats, Ellingson stopped 27 shots. The 'Cats and the Huskies were even at 29 shots apiece.

The 'Cats didn't waste any time on Saturday; they jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the middle of the first period. Vigier scored his first goal of the season at the 2:26 mark with some help from Cherniwchan and Jones. Justin Florek capitalized on a 'Cats' power play, assisted by Follmer and Macaulay.

Joey Holka snuck a shot past Coreau in the last seconds of the first period to cut the Cats' lead to one.

In the second period, Macaulay and Jake Johnson connected with Erik Higby for Higby's first tally of the season.

Once again, St. Cloud went with the extra attacker and scored, but Coreau held steady and preserved the 3-2 lead.

The Huskies outshot the 'Cats, 27-23, and Coreau finished with 25 saves.

The Wildcats' first conference test comes next weekend, when they welcome Michigan to the Berry Center. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

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