ANCHORAGE, Alas.—Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (17-10-3, 15-5-2-2 WCHA) sealed their third-straight series sweep with a 5-3 victory Saturday evening over the University of Alaska-Anchorage (2-20-4, 2-15-3-3 WCHA). The victory puts the Wildcats at 49 points in league play as they remain in first-place of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
For the second-consecutive night, the Wildcats jumped out to a lead in the opening minutes of action. It took just 23 seconds for junior forward Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) to find his seventh goal of the season. Junior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) and sophomore defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota) picked up assists on the play for their 17th and 16th on the season.
The scoring did not stop there as NMU jumped out to a two-goal lead at the 1:42 mark. Loggins picked up his second part of the contest, scoring his 14th goal of the season. Beaulieu also picked up his second point of the game with an assist, while sophomore forward Demico Hannoun (North Delta, British Columbia) earned his third assist of the season.
Despite going 14 minutes without a goal, the Wildcats would take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission after freshman forward Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alberta) netted his sixth goal of the season. Senior defenseman Jordan Klimek (Langley, British Columbia) was credited with the lone assist on the play, his 11th of the year.
Facing a large deficit, UAA was forced to go on the attack in the second period. The Seawolves scored a pair in a 10-minute span, cutting the NMU lead to 3-2. Freshman defenseman Robert Fosdick (Brookfield, Wisconsin) trailed the puck after coming in on a change. He put an end to UAA's run scoring from the top of the left circle for his first collegiate goal.
Fosdick's goal came at 16:52 of the second period with assists going to Rockwood and senior forward Zach Diamantoni (Montgomery, New Jersey). For Rockwood, it was his NCAA leading 25th of the year. Diamantoni earned his second point of the series and 12th assist of the season.
NMU led 4-2 after the second period, but neither team would add to their total for much of the final period. In the final minutes, the Seawolves elected to pull their goalie for an extra skater. The tactic paid off as UAA cut the lead to one, 4-3 with 55 seconds remaining in the contest.
An NMU penalty in the final minute gave the Seawolves a 6-4 skater advantage electing to remain without a goaltender. The Wildcats would take advantage of the empty net when junior defenseman James Vermeulen (Stony Plain, Alberta) deflected the puck to Loggins who shot it the length of the ice into the empty net. His second goal of the game gave him three points for the contest, while Vermeulen picked up his sixth assist of the season.
The score sealed the NMU victory and series sweep of UAA. The Wildcats again outshot their opponent, 27-23, while also holding them without a goal in three power-play chances.
Junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) continued his win streak between the pipes picking up his sixth-consecutive victory and ninth in the last 12 contests. For the season, Tolvanen is 15-5-1 with a .906 save percentage and 2.52. goals against average.
NMU continues their four-game road trip next weekend when they take on the University of Alabama Huntsville (9-17-2, 8-12-2-1 WCHA) Saturday and Sunday at 3:07 p.m. (EDT). The Wildcats need just four points the rest of the season to clinch home-ice for the first-round series of the WCHA Playoffs.