Craighead’s Hat Trick Secure WCHA Sweep of Ferris St.

Craighead’s Hat Trick Secure WCHA Sweep of Ferris St.

MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (10-8-2, 8-4-2-2 WCHA) earned their second sweep of the season over Ferris State University (9-12-1, 6-7-1 WCHA) Saturday evening with a 4-2 win in the Berry Events Center.

It took nearly the entire first period for the Wildcats to find their first goal of the game. At the 15:45 mark of the period, sophomore forward Darien Craighead (Surrey, British Columbia) scored his eighth of the season, putting NMU ahead, 1-0. Coming off of a faceoff, senior forward Zach Diamantoni (Montgomery, New Jersey) was credited with his eighth assist of the year.

A penalty five minutes into the second period put the Bulldogs in the power play, but NMU managed to net their fifth shorthanded goal of the season, tied for the national lead. Junior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) intercepted a pass near the NMU blue line before maneuvering around the lone defender in his way and sending the puck into the net.

Less than two minutes later, Craighead found his second of the game on assists from junior defenseman Ryan Black (Stillwater, Minnesota) sophomore defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota). The score came at 7:58 of the second period and put the Wildcats up 3-0.

FSU netted their first goal of the contest to begin the final period. The Bulldogs' shorthanded score cut the NMU lead down to a pair, 3-1. Craighead would go back on the attack during that Wildcat power play, though, scoring his third goal of the game for his first career hat trick.

His 10th goal of the season came at the 4:13 mark of the third period and with one second remaining on the penalty clock to give NMU a 4-1 lead. Freshman forwards Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alberta) and Mitchell Slattery (Lino Lakes, Minnesota) recorded assists on the play, Nardi's eighth and Slattery's second.

Craighead's hat trick is the second for a Wildcats this season. The first came from senior forward Robbie Payne (Gaylord, Michigan) on November 17 at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. NMU would win that contest, 5-3.

With a late penalty on NMU, the Bulldogs managed a score with 13 seconds remaining in the contest, but the Wildcats' lead was too much, winning 4-2. For the contest, NMU outshot FSU, 35-19, with double-digit shots in each period.

Between the pipes, junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) improved to 8-4 with his second win of the weekend after missing six games due to injury. His 17 stops moved his save percentage to .917% and his goals against average to 2.27 for the season.

After a weekend off, NMU will head to Mankato, Minnesota, for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association rematch with Minnesota State University, Mankato. The Mavericks sit atop the conference standings, while the Wildcats are now tied for second with Bowling Green State University and Michigan Technological University. 

The series is scheduled for December 29 and 30 with an 8:07 p.m. puck drop.