MARQUETTE, Mi. The No. 19 Northern Michigan Wildcats hockey team (12-7-2, 10-5-0-0 WCHA) earned their fourth straight victory with a 4-1 win over the Seawolves of Alaska Anchorage (3-13-3, 3-10-2-2 WCHA) Friday night.
With the two teams battling early, Griffin Loughran was able to break the stalemate at 10:37 to give the Wildcats the first goal of the game. UAA would tie it up just a few minutes later and the two teams would skate to the locker rooms tied at one through the first period of play, with the Wildcats holding the slight edge in shots, 9-8.
The second period proved to be lots more back-and-forth before senior captain Philip Beaulieu hit the twine with 2:07 remaining to put the Wildcats up 2-1 heading into the final frame.
Two more insurance goals ensued for NMU as Garrett Klee and Darien Craighead both scored partway through the third for the 4-1 final score.
With a low wrister from the far post, Griffin Loughran opened the scoring at 10:37 of the first period. Andre Ghantous centered the puck to Joseph Nardi where he redirected it, backhand, to Loughran to give the Wildcats the 1-0 lead.
Philip Beaulieu picked up his third goal of the season with a laser from the point to break the 1-1 tie and give the Wildcats the eventual game-winner. Darien Craighead and Joseph Nardi were credited with assists on the play.
Picking up the loose puck and tucking it under the glove of UAA netminder Carlson, Garrett Klee gave the Wildcats a 3-1 lead with just over 10 minutes to go in the game. Vincent de Mey sent the puck behind the net where Klee was able to corral it and bury it home. Grant Loven also earned an assist on the goal.
Darien Craighead beat Carlson just minutes later as the sliding Seawolf goaltender was unable to get his skate to the post before Craighead tapped it in for the 4-1 final. Griffin Loughran and Mike Van Unen both earned assists on the play.
Nolan Kent improved his record to 8-2-0 with a .958 save percentage, boasting 23 saves on 24 shots. His .800 win percentage ranks fourth nationally, tied with UMass' Matt Murray.
Five players extended point streaks having highlighted the box score in Friday's 4-1 victory while two more started their own. Andre Ghantous leads the team, having scored in five consecutive games (2-3-5) while Griffin Loughran (5-2-7), Joseph Nardi (1-6-7) and Philip Beaulieu (2-3-5) all hold point streaks at four games.
Loughran's four game point-streak also includes a four game goal-streak, extending his nation-leading goal count to 17. He also holds the highest goals per game average, tied with Colorado College's Chris Wilkie with a 0.81 average.
The team leader in points, Loughran's 27 total (17-10-27) ranks 10th nationally in points per game (1.29).
With his third goal of the season and five points in the last four games, Beaulieu now ranks ninth among all defensemen this season in points per game (0.90; 3-16-19) while he continues to be the nation's active leader in career points among defensemen with 115 (23-92-115).
Averaging 3.38 goals per game, and tallying at least four in each of their last four games, the Wildcats are 11th in the nation in scoring offense.
Two individuals accounted for eight blocked shots on the night, with Ben Newhouse and Joseph Nardi posting four a piece. Rylan Yaremko and Hank Sorensen both totaled three to help the team to 24 shots blocked in the win.
With four shots on goal, Darien Craighead led the Wildcats in the category and now owns a three game goal-streak, having scored in each game of 2020.
Posting a 4-0-0 record since their final game of 2019, the Wildcats now own the fourth-longest undefeated streak in the country.
The Wildcats return home to close out their regular season series with the UAA Seawolves Saturday night with puck drop set for 6:07 p.m.
The 2020 NCAA Frozen Four trophy will be on display throughout the game and the team invites fans to stick around following the tilt for their final post-game autograph session of the season.