SWEET SWEEP: Wildcat Hockey Team Stays Hot
These stories were written by NMU Sports Information
SATURDAY GAME RE-CAP
MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan University hockey team (16-8-4, 14-5-1-1 WCHA) completed the regular season sweep over Ferris State University (7-20-2, 5-14-2-0 WCHA) with a 5-2 victory on Saturday night.
After a strong first shift with two shots blocked as the Wildcats peppered the FSU end, the two teams battled the remainder of the period with the Bulldogs leading 13-11 shots on goal after one.
Andre Ghantous broke the 0-0 stalemate at 16:39 of the frame with a laser from inside the far circle. The Bulldogs tied things up less than a minute after the first Wildcat goal to make it 1-1 late in the first period, to skate to the intermission knotted.
NMU opened the second period firing with two goals less than seven minutes in before Luke Voltin extended the lead to three with a power play goal at 12:20 of the period for the 4-1 lead.
FSU cut the lead to two before nearly four minutes of power play action in the third for NMU. The Wildcats fired pucks on net but were unable to crack the Bulldog netminder and the score remained 4-2 with under 10 minutes to play.
Caleb Schroer rounded out the scoring with a race down the ice finding just ice between him and the goalie for the 5-2 final.
Nolan Kent made 31 saves on the night including a series of big saves late in the third to keep the Wildcats up by three.
Joseph Nardi, breaking defenders in the slot for a wide open lane ahead, fed the puck to Andre Ghantous for the quick one-timer to get the Wildcats on the board at 16:39 of the first period. Griffin Loughran also picked up an assist on the goal.
The top line continued their production with their second points of the night when Nardi found the open net with 4:37 gone in the second period to give NMU the 2-1 lead.
On a quick tic-tac-toe sequence, Loughran chipped the puck over to Ghantous who passed it off to Nardi for the goal.
Brandon Schultz scored his first collegiate goal to put the Wildcats up by two less than halfway through the game. With a two-on-one break he fired a saucer deep passed Bulldogs goaltender Salmankangas for the 3-1 lead. Ben Newhouse and Nolan Kent were both credited with assists on the goal.
Luke Voltin added to the Wildcat lead at 12:20 of the middle frame when he picked up the rebound out front and tapped it in as Salmankangas scrambled to cover the puck. Hank Sorensen who had the initial shot was credited with the first assist while Brandon Schultz picked up the second.
Grant Loven intercepted the puck in the Wildcat zone off a Bulldog shot and passed it up to Caleb Schroer who skated it through the neutral zone before going five-hole for the 5-2 lead late in the third.
With two assists on the night, Griffin Loughran's 34 points this season, or 1.26 points per game, ranks 13th in the nation.
Nolan Kent earned his 11th career win and now boasts a season and career record of 11-3-1. His win percentage of .767 ranks fourth nationally.
Averaging 3.50 goals per game, the NMU offense ranks seventh overall and their win percentage of .643 is ninth.
Currently riding a four game undefeated stretch, the Wildcats hold the third-longest streak with their 3-0-1 record.
The team hits the road again for a weekend in Minnesota as they take on No. 3 Minnesota State next Friday and Saturday, February 7-8.
The two teams previously met to close out the 2019 calendar year where the Wildcats found the split with a 4-1 win on Saturday night in Marquette.
FRIDAY GAME RE-CAP
MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Wildcat hockey team (15-8-4, 13-5-1-1 WCHA) improved to 3-0 on the season against the Bulldogs of Ferris State (7-19-2, 5-4-2-0 WCHA) with a 5-2 win Friday night, behind a hat trick performance by senior Darien Craighead and 20 saves from sophomore goaltender Nolan Kent.
The Wildcats wasted no time getting on the board Friday night, with Darien Craighead netting his first of the game just 28 second in.
The remainder of the period was a lot more back-and-forth with Ben Newhouse making a huge save on the doorstep at 15:35 of the first to keep the Bulldogs off the board. Skating four-on-four to the intermission, Craighead scored his second of the night with assists to Michael Van Unen and Brandon Schultz.
Northern Michigan held the edge in shots on goal in the first period, 9-6, with Nolan Kent saving all six shots.
Griffin Loughran added to the Wildcat lead with a rocket with 5:50 to play in the middle frame for his nation-leading 20th of the season.
The Bulldogs would find the back of the net once, late in the second to cut the Wildcats' lead to 3-1 heading into the final intermission.
With their second power play goal of the night, FSU cut the deficit to one goal at 16:14 of the third period but another goal from Craighead to cap off his second career hat trick and an empty netter from Vincent de Mey gave the Wildcats the 5-2 final.
Brandon Schultz shook off defenders in the Bulldog Zone, feeding the puck over to Darien Craighead out front alone. With a sliding defender coming his way, Craighead went glove side, beating Ferris State netminder on the upper right. Ben Newhouse also picked up an assist on the play.
Craighead fired the backhander passed FSU's Salmankangas at 18:39 of the first period to give the Wildcats the 2-0 lead heading into the break. Michael Van Unen and Brandon Schultz earned assists on the gaol.
Griffin Loughran skated in all alone with 5:50 to go in the middle frame to give the Wildcats the 3-0 lead. The rookie duo of Van Unen and Andre Ghantous combined for the assists on the breakaway.
Craighead completed the hat trick with a goal at 17:31 of the third period when he deflected Van Unen's shot in the slot. Luke Voltin also picked up an assist on the play.
Vincent de Mey finished out the scoring Friday night with an empty net goal at 19:12.
For his 14th of the year. Philip Beaulieu and Ben Newhouse were both credited with assists.
Griffin Loughran's nation-leading 20th goal of the season ranks him fourth in goals per game (0.77) and his 32 total points is 14th overall.
Picking up his fourth game winning goal of the season, Loughran also sits fourth overall in the category for 2019-20.
Improving to 10-3-1 on the year, Nolan Kent's .750 win percentage is fourth in the nation.
Averaging 3.44 goals per game, the Wildcat offense ranks eighth among Division I programs while their .630 team win percentage is 11th.