MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - After erasing their second-consecutive three-goal deficit in the third period, the Northern Michigan Wildcats (6-2-2, 4-0-0-0 WCHA) fell in overtime to the St. Cloud State Huskies (2-2-4, 0-0-0 NCHC), 5-4 Saturday night.
The Huskies came out strong in the first frame outshooting the Wildcats, 15-4 to head into the first intermission with a 3-0 lead.
The second period was more balanced, with Northern Michigan posting eight shots to their opponent's nine while both teams tallied a goal through the second 20-minute session. Andre Ghantous scored his third goal of the weekend and fifth in his last four games to cut the game to two before the Huskies found the back of the net at 9:30 to carry a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
Another comeback loomed as time ticked off the clock but Luke Voltin's first goal of the season sparked hope among the nearly 3,300 fans in attendance at the Berry Events Center. His tally at 9:31 of the final period of regulation cut the Huskies lead to 4-2. Griffin Loughran devoured the momentum and brought the Wildcats within one off his wrister from the top of the slot. Ty Readman was the next Wildcat to find the back of the net in the period off a pass from Darien Craighead. His goal from the left circle knotted the game at four-all just 1:51 after the Voltin's.
Standing on his head much of the latter half of the game, John Hawthorne recorded 24 saves in the loss, including a flurry of shots late in the overtime period.
• Rookie forward Andre Ghantous extended his career-long point and goal streaks when he put the Wildcats on the board just 5:54 into the middle frame. Griffin Loughran beat a defender before passing the puck back to Ghantous who buried it stick side passed Huskies' netminder Hrenak. Joseph Nardi also picked up an assist on the play for his sixth of the season.
• Luke Voltin netted his first of the season with 10:29 to go in the game, bringing the Wildcats within two. Picking up a pass from Mitchel Slattery, Voltin carried the bpuck into the zone, fooling multiple defenders in the process, before tapping in the backhander. Fellow senior Darien Craighead earned the second assist on the play.
• Just 1:11 later, Griffin Loughran found the back of the net to make it a 4-3 game with 9:18 to play in regulation. Vincent de Mey and Ty Readman were both credited with assists on the goal.
• Readman then rounded out the Wildcat scoring 40 seconds later. A series of qucik passes from Loughran and Craighead found the puck on Readman's stick in the left circle and an open net in front of him. St. Cloud's goaltender, Hrenak, dove for the puck but was unable to stop Readman's shot to tie the game at 4-4.
• After a career-high two-goal game Friday night, Andre Ghantous opened the Wildcat scoring Saturday evening and is now on a four-game goal-streak (5-0-5) and has tallied a point in each of his last six games (6-1-7).
• Two Wildcats recorded season firsts in the loss, including Luke Voltin who tallied his first goal of the season. Mitchel Slattery tallied his first assist of the year on the Voltin goal.
• Averaging 0.90 goals per game, Griffin Loughran ranks sixth in the nation and holds the team lead in total goals with nine.
• Averaging 3.90 goals per game, the Wildcats currently rank eighth in scoring offense.
• Operating at 27.1%, the Wildcat power play unit is seventh in the nation with 13 goals on 48 chances.
• The team also sits 12th in win percentage (6-2-2; .700).
• Northern Michigan had multiple strong scoring chances that were somehow stopped, including a shorthanded chance from Mitch Slattery that sailed just wide and a rocket shot from Darien Craighead early in the third that was gloved down by a sprawled out Hrenak.
• The Wildcats have now overcome three three-goal deficits in the third period and hold a 0-1-2 record in those contests. The other two include at Boston University (T, 4-4) and vs. St. Cloud State (T, 3-3).
The Wildcats welcome Alaska to town next weekend as they return to their WCHA slate, November 15-16. Heading into this weekend's games, the two teams were tied for first in the league with 12 points each. With both the Wildcats and Nanooks hosting non-conference opponents over the weekend, they now sit just behind Minnesota State in a tie for second.