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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wildcats and Spartans do the splits

Five players to serve one-game suspensions

By Susannah Nichols/ Northern Michigan Beat Writer

The Michigan State Spartans dealt the Northern Michigan Wildcats their first home loss on Friday night with a 4-2 victory. The Wildcats rebounded the following night to earn a series split with a 2-1 win.

The 'Cats played the Spartans close on Friday--shots were even at ten apiece through the first period, and the 'Cats trailed by a goal heading into the final minutes of the game: an empty-netter sealed the deal for State.

Tyler Gron scored both of Northern's goals, and Torey Krug had a goal and assist for the Spartans. Reid Ellingson had 20 stops for the 'Cats; reigning CCHA Player of the Week Will Yanakeff had 25 saves for State.

In Saturday's game, NMU outshot State 25-11 over the first two periods, but it wasn't until a power play late in the second period that Justin Florek could light the lamp and give the 'Cats a 1-0 lead.

Matt Berry tied the game for the Spartans at 12:21 of the third with some help from Kevin Walrod and Brett Perlini.

But it was NMU junior Brian Nugent who netted the game-winner for his first goal of the season, with Wade Epp and Scott Macaulay earning assists.

Yanakeff had 28 stops, and Jared Coreau held off an extra-man surge at the game's end to earn 20 saves and the victory for the 'Cats.

NMU coach Walt Kyle reflected on the game: “I though we played well," he said. “They are a good team. I was really happy because Brian Nugent is one of the hardest working guys that we have day in and day out.”

The night ended with a number of game misconducts and five disqualifications after a shoving match broke out after the whistle. The disqualified players will serve a one-game suspension: Epp, Macaulay, and Kyle Follmer for the Wildcats, and Krug and Greg Wolfe for the Spartans.

The Wildcats (5-6-3, 2-5-3-2 CCHA) are UP-bound for the rest of the calendar year; they are idle for Thanksgiving weekend and welcome Miami to Marquette the weekend of December 2-3. The Spartans (7-5-0, 4-4-0-0 CCHA) return home to face Minnesota on Friday and Saturday. Game time is 7:05 both nights.

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