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Wildcats skate to 4-4 tie with MTU

The exhibition season for NMU and MTU hockey got underway Saturday evening.
 (NMU Graphic)
(NMU Graphic) (WLUC)
Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The Northern Michigan University hockey program played an exhibition contest against Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich., Saturday, skating to a 4-4 tie with their Upper Penninsula and Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the opening period of play, courtesy of Mikey Colella and Tanner Vescio, but the Huskies would get one back  at 9:13 of the first. Rico DiMatteo made an improbably save on the penalty kill before the Huskies gathered the rebound and beat him for the 2-1 score.

A period heavily dominated by the Wildcats ended with the score knotted at two-all following a goal by the Huskies at 19:48 of the period.

Mikey Colella recorded two points in the first 20 minutes of game time, picking up the first goal followed by an assist on Vescio’s tally. His linemate Andre Ghantous matched his point total, registering an assist on both goals in the first frame to help his team get out to a 2-0 start.

Nolan Kent made his 2021-22 debut in the crease to start the second period after DiMatteo made 10 saves in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Wildcats wasted no time breaking the tie as Trevor Cosgrove buried the puck deep with a shot at 1:56 of the second period to make it a 3-2 game.

The officials called the second period with 2:06 remaining due to fog on the ice. A full resurfacing ensued and the two teams returned to the ice after an intermission to complete the second frame and start the third. The horn blew after 2:06 to signal the end of the second and allow the teams a brief break before beginning a 20-minute third period.

Rookie Charlie Glockner made his first appearance between the pipes to start the extended third period, making a huge save in the first 60 seconds to keep his team on top, 3-2, as they headed into the official third period.

The Huskies tied things up again at 1:06 of the third period as they beat Glockner for the 3-3 tally.

Moments later the Huskies would find the back of the net again as NMU found themselves facing their first deficit of the night, down 4-3.

The Wildcats would finish the scoring for the evening when AJ Vanderbeck lifted the puck over the shoulder of MTU’s netminder on the power play for the 4-4 final.

The Wildcats concluded the night with 22 shots on goal, led by Alex Frye, Ben Newhouse and Mike Van Unen with three a piece. All three goaltenders for the green and gold made an appearance in net, combining for 33 total saves en route to the tie.

SCORING PLAYS

  • Mikey Colella opened the scoring for the Wildcats Saturday night when he lit the lamp at 4:02 of the first period. He picked up a feed from Joseph Nardi through traffic and buried it deep for the 1-0 lead. Andre Ghantous also picked up an assist on the play.
  • Tanner Vescio added to the NMU lead at 6:31 of the first when he found the back of the net with assists to Colella and Ghantous.
  • Trevor Cosgrove scored his first goal as a Wildcat with a shot at 1:56 of the second period to put NMU back on top, 3-2. He was assisted by David Keefer on the play.
  • With a Husky in the box, the team’s leader in goals in 2020-21, AJ Vanderbeck fired a shot top shelf to tie things up at 4-4. Mike Van Unen earned the primary assist on the goal, picking up a pass from Hampus Eriksson and setting Vanderbeck up for the clear shot.

KEY STATS

  • All three net minders saw time in the crease at MTU. Nolan Kent was perfect in the crease, stopping all 14 shots faced in the middle frame to keep his Wildcats up 3-2 after two.
  • The Wildcats blocked 12 shots on the night, including six between newcomer Trevor Cosgrove and Mike Van Unen who ranked second nationally in the category at the end of last season.
  • Three skaters posted a plus-two on-ice rating Saturday night, as Mikey Colella, Bo Hanson and Joseph Nardi all made the mark.

UP NEXT

The Wildcats return home next weekend to open the 2021-22 regular season with a six-game home stand at the Berry Events Center.

They first host new Division I member and CCHA rival, St. Thomas University, Oct. 8-9, with puck drop scheduled for 6:37 p.m. both nights.

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