MARQUETTE, Mich.—No. 19 Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (24-14-3, 19-7-2-2 WCHA) will head to a third game in the best-of-three Western Collegiate Hockey Association Playoff semifinals after a 1-0 loss to No. 17 Bowling Green State University (23-11-6, 17-6-5-2 WCHA) Saturday evening in the Berry Events Center.
Neither team was able to take an advantage in the opening period, with both teams being nearly even in every category. The Wildcats did manage to outshoot the Falcons in the first period, 9-7, while both them went 0-for-1 in their lone power play opportunity.
The second period was much of the same with neither team able to find the back of the net through the first 40 minutes of action. Through two periods, BGSU outshot NMU 16-15 while both squads were a combined 0-for-five in power play opportunities.
Early in the third period, the tie was finally broken with the Falcons netting the first goal of the contest just three minutes into the period on a power play. The goal would be the game-winner with neither team scoring the rest of the way to force a third game of the series.
Junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) dropped to 22-9-1 on the season despite making 19 saves. His goals against average dropped to 2.28 after the contests, which currently ranks fifth-best in NMU history for a single season.
Despite the loss, junior forward Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) remains atop the NCAA with 40 assists on the season. His 48 total points are good enough for fifth-best in the country. Sophomore defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota) also remains on top of the NCAA categories for assists and points for defensemen.
Both teams will square-off again on Sunday night with a chance to go to the WCHA Championships on the line. The puck will drop for the two ranked opponents at 7:07 p.m. in the Berry. The winner of Sunday's game three will advance to play the winner of the Minnesota State University and Michigan Technological University series which will also be decided on Sunday. The WCHA Championship game is set for next Saturday, March 17, at the venue of the highest remaining seed.