Sunday, January 08, 2012
Wildcats tie, beat Nanooks
The Northern Michigan Wildcats started 2012 off right with 2-2 tie and a 7-3 victory against the visiting Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks. Andrew Cherniwchan and Matt Thurber both had hat tricks in Saturday night's victory: the first time since 1992 that two Wildcats have had hat tricks in a single game.
The Nanooks and the 'Cats were deadlocked for the first period and a half of play on Friday night, with Northern netminder Reid Ellingson seeing slightly more action than his Alaskan counterpart: UAF had 19 shots over the first two periods to NMU's 15. Late in the second period, Northern took a 2-0 lead , thanks to a power play goal from Justin Florek and an even-strength marker from Reed Seckel.
Alaska outshot Northern 13-4 in the third period and it paid off: Alaska knotted the score to send the game to overtime. Northern didn't manage a single shot in overtime; Ellingson succeeded in stopping all four of Alaska's and finished with 30 total saves on the night.
Alaska made one goal in the shootout; Northern was blanked.
Alaska maintained dominance in shots in Saturday's game, but the 'Cats made the most of their opportunities. Cherniwchan started the scoring late in the first period, on a power-play goal with assists from Florek and Stephan Vigier. UAF tied the game early in the second, and goals from Thurber and Cherniwchan (again set up by Florek and Vigier) gave the 'Cats a 3-1 lead.
The Nanooks scored again to cut the lead to one heading into the final twenty minutes, but Mitch Jones scored at 5:33 of the third period to take back the momentum for the 'Cats. Thurber's second goal of the night put the 'Cats on top 5-2.
After Michael Quinn lit the lamp for the Nanooks, they tried pulling their goalie. Thurber capitalized on the opportunity to finish his hat trick with an empty-netter. Cherniwchan added some frosting to the victory with a last-second goal to seal the 7-3 victory and his own hat trick.
Jared Coreau had 37 saves for the Wildcats in Saturday's win.
The Wildcats (10-7-4, 6-6-4-2 CCHA) will look to continue their four-game unbeaten streak next weekend, when they hit the road to take on Michigan State in East Lansing. Puck drops at 7:00 PM on Friday and Saturday.