Wildcats Settle for Road Split in Huntsville

Wildcats Settle for Road Split in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.—No. 19 Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (18-11-3, 16-6-2-2 WCHA) saw their seven-game win streak come to an end Sunday afternoon, falling to the University of Alabama-Huntsville (10-18-2, 9-13-2-1 WCHA) by a score of 4-2. It is the Wildcats first loss since December 30.

The Wildcats fell into an early deficit after the Chargers scored the first goal of the game just over two minutes into the opening period. UAH came out strong and would outshoot NMU in the first period, 7-6.

After 10 more minutes of action, sophomore defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota) knotted the game up at one goal each with his ninth goal of the season. The score at 13:17 of the period was assisted by senior defenseman Jordan Klimek (Langley, British Columbia) for his 12th and junior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) for his 18th and team leading 34th point.

Penalties were the story of the second period with 10 combined whistles. UAH was called for six, while NMU collected four in the second period alone.  The Chargers regained the lead on a power play chance midway through the second period. Neither team was able to score again in the final eight-plus minutes of the second period with UAH taking a 2-1 advantage in to the final 20 minutes of play.

Despite controlling the puck much of the second and third period, it was the Chargers that extended their lead in the third period with a goal at the 10:13 mark. Senior forward Robbie Payne (Gaylord, Michigan) recorded his 18th goal of the season about four minutes later to trim the deficit back to one. The goal moved Payne into a tie for sixth in the NCAA, while sophomore forward Darien Craighead (Surrey, British Columbia) recorded his 14th assist of the season on the play.

With about two minutes to play, NMU opted to pull their goalie for an extra skater trailing 4-2. It worked in UAH's favor as the Chargers earned their fourth goal of the game with an empty net score with seconds remaining in the contest.

The empty net goal would seal the 4-2 win for the Chargers, forcing the series split. The Wildcats outshot UAH 36-15 in the game, taking 15 in both the second and third periods.

Between the pipes, junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) earned his first a loss in nearly a month taking his record to 16-6-1. His 11 saves now have his save percentage at .900 and his goals against average at 2.56.

The Wildcats return to the Berry Events Center next weekend in their final home series of the season. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks will make the trip to the Berry for the second series of the season between the two programs. Contests will be Friday and Saturday night at 7 p.m.

NMU's final home game of the season will be February 23 against Michigan Technological University. That will be the first game of a weekend home-and-home series with NMU concluding the regular season February 24 in Houghton against the huskies.

Tickets for the first round WCHA Playoff series will go on sale Monday through the NMU Ticket Office. Games during the first-round series will be played on Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday, if necessary. All game times will be 7 p.m. Ticket information for the quarterfinal round of the WCHA playoffs are listed below.

College Students (Including NMU students): $5
Youth: $5
Adult: $17
Senior: $14
Groups: $10
Season Ticket Holders: Included