MARQUETTE, Mi. 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.