By Susannah Nichols/ Northern Michigan Beat Writer
The #17 Northern Michigan Wildcats welcomed the top-ranked Michigan Wolverines to Marquette this weekend and dealt them a 5-3 loss on Friday. The teams fought to a 3-3 tie on Saturday.
Northern outshot Michigan 13-7 in the first period of Friday's game, and the teams were even at 10 shots apiece through the second.
But the penalties were the real story: Wildcat Andrew Cherniwchan and Wolverine Luke Moffatt were slapped with major penalties and game disqualifications after Cherniwchan slid into Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick. Hunwick was also given a five-minute major and game misconduct, and Wildcat Reed Seckel got a double-minor for boarding.
Adam Janecyk replaced Hunwick after his penalty, and the scoring took off for both teams. Dylan Walchuk put the Wildcats on the board with his first collegiate goal, and Lindsay Sparks answered less than a minute later for the Wolverines. Matt Thurber also netted his first Wildcat goal to give Northern a 2-1 lead heading into the last twenty minutes.
Mitch Jones kept up the Northern trend by scoring his first collegiate goal early in the third period. Zack Hyman and Travis Lynch answered for the Wolverines to tie up the score.
Tyler Gron scored the game-winning goal for the Wildcats, and Justin Florek, who had already racked up two assists on the night, scored an empty-net goal to finalize the score at 5-3.
Hunwick had 17 saves before exiting the game; Janecyk had 10 saves for the loss. In net for the 'Cats, Reid Ellingson had 24 saves for the win.
On Saturday, Michigan controlled play in the first period: they outshot the 'Cats 12-4 and scored twice, courtesy of an AJ Treais even-strength goal and a power-play goal by Sparks.
Gron responded in the second period with a pair of power-play goals. Kevin Lynch wrenched the lead back for the Wolverines heading into the second intermission.
Jones scored his second goal of the series less than a minute into the third period, and neither team could get ahead before the end of regulation.
In the last minute of the period, Seckel received a major penalty and game disqualification, which put the Wildcats behind the eight-ball for nearly the entire overtime period. They managed two shots to Michigan's three, but neither team could convert.
Treais scored the only goal in the shootout to give Michigan the shootout win.
Hunwick finished with 23 saves; Wildcat Jared Coreau finished with 25.
NMU (4-1-1, 1-0-1 CCHA) goes on the road to take on Western Michigan next weekend. Michigan (4-1-1, 0-1-0-1, CCHA) returns to Ann Arbor to face Ferris State in a Thursday-Friday series.