MARQUETTE, Mi. Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (7-9-0, 6-3-0-0 WCHA) made history in the Berry Events Center Friday night with a 5-3 victory over No. 20 Michigan Technological University (8-6-1, 7-1-1-1 WCHA) in front of a sellout crowd.
ATTE MAKES HISTORY
Senior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) became the first Wildcat goaltender in history to score a goal. After MTU elected to pull their goaltender, trailing 4-2, Tolvanen corralled the puck and sent it down the length of the ice into the Huskie net with 1:07 remaining in the contest. Tolvanen also picked up his seventh win of the season between the pipes after making 23 saves.
The goal marked just the second time in Western Collegiate Hockey Association history that a goaltender has scored a goal with the first coming in January of 1989. It was also just the 11th time in NCAA history that a goaltender has found the back of the net. To make the goal even more impressive, it was just the fourth time that a goaltender has ever scored off their own shot.
For the season, Tolvanen owns a .918 save percentage and 2.33 goals against average. The WCHA Goaltender of the Month for November now has 412 saves on the season which are currently third most in the NCAA this season. He is within reach of five career goaltender records including shutouts and saves. Tolvanen's next shutout will tie the program record with 12 while he needs 490 saves to break the school record.
The Wildcats wasted little time taking a lead in front of a sellout home crown. Senior forward Denver Pierce (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) netted his third goal of the season just 6:20 into the contest when he intercepted a puck in front of the MTU net. He quickly fired the puck into the net to give NMU the early 1-0 lead that would last until the first intermission.
Pierce also lead the team in shots during the first period with three chances at the net. As a team, the Wildcats killed a penalty near the end of the period and a second one that spanned into the second period.
ACTION PACKED SECOND
NMU killed a penalty to begin the second period, but the Huskies quickly evened the score with a goal at 3:55. The score was tied for more than ten minutes before MTU managed to take the lead with their second goal of the period. The score came at 15:17 but the Huskies lead was short lived.
Freshman forward Ty Readman (Edmonton, Alberta) scored his first collegiate goal less than three minutes later. A shot from senior defenseman Tony Bretzman (Mendota Heights, Minnesota) was knocked down by the MTU goaltender where Readman was able to get his stick on it for the score. Bretzman picked up his second assist of the season on the play while junior forward Luke Voltin (Blaine, Minnesota) recorded his first. The goal came at 18:02 of the period and sent both teams into the second intermission deadlocked at two goals each.
SELL OUT WIN
In the final period, junior forward Darien Craighead (Surrey, British Columbia) scored just 51 seconds into the period for his seventh of the season. The goal gave NMU the lead at 3-2, and the Wildcats would hold on to that lead the rest of the way. Junior defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota) and Bretzman recorded assists on the Craighead goal.
Before the end of the contest, senior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) netted an unassisted goal for his seventh of the season to put the Wildcats up, 4-2. Just over two minutes later, Tolvanen scored his rare goalie goal to all but seal a victory with a minute to play. The Wildcats went on to 5-3 victory at the final buzzer.
Both teams now head to Houghton, Michigan to wrap-up the series in John MacInnes Student Ice Arena Saturday evening. The Wildcats will look for the series sweep when the puck drops at 7:07 p.m.