MARQUETTE, Mi. The Northern Michigan University hockey program (16-12-4, 14-9-1-1 WCHA) fought hard Saturday night but were stopped short of the goal line by the Bemidji State Beavers (18-8-4, 18-4-2-1 WCHA) 27 times as they fell 5-1 to the WCHA foe.
The Wildcats worked hard in the opening minutes of the game, peppering shots on the Beavers' net hoping for some space. On their fourth goal of the night, Darien Craighead found the opening low to give NMU a 1-0 lead at 4:34 of the first.
With a Wildcat looking on from the bench, the Beavers answered with 10:57 to go in the opening frame to knot things at 1-1.
With the score locked at one after 20 minutes, John Hawthorne and Nolan Kent combined to make 13 saves.
The Beavers broke the tie at 2:49 of the second period when a saucer from BSU's Brad Johnson caught Kent slightly off kilter for the 2-1 tally.
Craighead nearly tied it up half way through the second period with a two-on-one chance but it was just narrowly grabbed out of thin air by Beavers' netminder Driscoll, robbing Craighead from his second of the night.
After two periods the Wildcats led in shots on goal, 18-17, but were unable to crack Driscoll in the middle frame for Craighead's first period goal remaining the lone tally for the team, however NMU limited BSU to just three shots at Kent through the middle 20 minutes of play.
The Beavers extended their lead to two when a deflected puck found a BSU stick out front with 15:21 to play.
With just under 10 minutes to play in regulation, BSU's Alex Ierullo was sent off for boarding, giving the Wildcats their first major power play opportunity of the weekend. Vincent de Mey ripped three quick shots off in the first 30 seconds on the man advantage but was unable to sneak it past Driscoll and they played on, down 3-1.
Two empty net goals from the Beavers would seal the Wildcats' fate Saturday night as they ultimately fell, 5-1.
Darien Craighead found twine first as he grabbed a centering pass from Griffin Loughran and found a gap in the five hole for the first goal of the night. Battling along the boards, Ty Readman worked the puck free to Griffin Loughran who sent it over to Craighead for his 12th of the season.
The Wildcats outshot their opponent 28–22, including holding the edge in the latter two frames with 10 shots in each.
Darien Craighad's 12th goal of the season puts him third overall in the Wildcat sweater and his 26 points ranks second on the team.
Vincent de Mey and Craighead both finished with four shots on net a piece, including de Mey's coming on a five minute power play partway through the third, all of which were turned away in the crease.
NMU recorded 13 blocked shots in the loss, including a team best two from Rylan Yaremko, Philip Beaulieu and Ty Readman.
The team treks back East, just a few hours down the road next weekend when they square off with Lake Superior State University in Sault St. Marie, Michigan.