MARQUETTE, Mi. Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (13-11-0, 12-5-0-0 WCHA) fell, 3-2, to No. 7 Minnesota State University, Mankato (20-6-1, 15-4-0-0 WCHA) Friday evening in their return to the Berry Events Center. It was the first time the Wildcats have played in front of their home crowd in five weeks.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the opening period while the Wildcats managed to hold the high-powered Mavericks offense to just eight shots on goal. Minnesota St. came into the contest averaging more than 30 shots per game. Offensively, a pair of Wildcats attempted two shots on-goal in the first period including senior forwards Denver Pierce (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) and Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California).
The second period belong to the Mavericks who scored a pair of goals near the midway point. The first goal of the game came at 8:30 with Minnesota St. scoring on the power play while the Mavericks scored again less than five minutes later. MSU took their two-goal advantage into the second intermission.
WILDCATS ARE ON THE BOARD
Early in the final period, freshman forward Griffin Loughran (West Seneca, New York) got the Wildcats on the board with a goal at the net. His third of the season came from freshman forward Ty Readman (Edmonton, Alberta) and senior defenseman Ryan Black (Stillwater, Minnesota) who picked up their sixth and fourth assists of the season. For Readman, it was his third assist in as many contests.
Under four minutes later with the Mavericks on the power play, the Wildcats managed their third shorthanded goal of the season courtesy of Troy Loggins. He and senior forward Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) sent the puck back and forth on a breakaway before Loggins was able to score his 11th goal of the season. He also now leads the team with 22 points after recording his second shorthanded goal of the season. Rockwood picked up his 11th assist of the season on the score.
Despite the two quick goals in the final period, NMU was unable to complete the comeback. The loss ended the Wildcats six-game win streak in their 13th game against a ranked opponent this season.
ATTE IN GOAL
Senior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) recorded 18 saves in the contest to move 305 shy of the NMU career mark of 3,434 save set by Craig Kowalski. He also moved into sole possession of third-place in the NMU record book with 122 games played. For the season, Tolvanen owns a 13-11-0 record plus a save percentage of .923 and goals against average of 2.10.
Both teams will meet again on Saturday when the Wildcats will look to even the split the series. The game will begin at 7 p.m. with a Fourth Period Party at Casa Calabria to follow.