MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) — For the first time since October 21, 2011, the Northern Michigan University Wildcats (9-7-2, 7-5-0-0 WCHA) defeated the top-ranked team in the nation with a 4-1 victory over No. 1 Minnesota State Mankato (15-2-1, 10-2-0-0 WCHA) Saturday night at the Berry Events Center.
Skating to a stalemate after one, sophomore goaltender Nolan Kent stopped 13 shots to keep the Mavericks off the board.
At 2:53 of the middle frame, Michael Van Unen opened the scoring with a laser from the slot for the first of his career. A tally on the power play from Ben Newhouse would send the Wildcats to the second intermission with the 2-1 lead.
The two teams would battle it out for the remaining 40 minutes but with the Mavericks' net minder pulled with less than two minutes to go, Andre Ghantous and Griffin Loughran would both find the empty net for the 4-1 final.
Nolan Kent improved his season save percentage to .903 following a .968 save percentage in the win, stopping 30 of 31 shots faced.
• Van Unen picked up a feed at the top of the slot to put the Wildcats up 1-0 early in the second period, his first in a Wildcat Sweater. Luke Voltin and Adam Roeder picked up the assists on the goal.
• Ben Newhouse scored his first career game-winning goal at 14:14 of the second period when Van Unen found him at the top of the circle just 16 seconds into the man advantage. Grant Loven also picked up an assist on the play to give the Wildcats the 2-1 lead.
• Andre Ghantous scored his second in as many games at 18:29 of the third period to put his team up 3-1. With an open net ahead of him, he sent the puck deep from behind the blue line for his eighth of the year. Philip Beaulieu recorded the lone assist on the goal.
• Moments later, Griffin Loughran scored a nearly identical goal to Ghantous', skating the puck through the neutral zone and firing it into the empty net. Joseph Nardi and Vincent de Mey were credited with the assists on the final goal of the night.
• The last time the Wildcats took down the No. 1 team in the nation was on October 21, 2011 when they defeated Michigan in the first of a two-game series in Marquette, Michigan.
• The Wildcats were perfect on the penalty kill Saturday night, killing all four penalties with ease. On the team's first kill of the night, Rylan Yaremko, alone, jumped in front of three shots to keep the Mavericks off the board.
• Yaremko led the team in total blocks, posting five of the team's 16 on the night.
• Skating in his 100th career game, Joseph Nardi led the team in shots with five while picking up an assist on the final goal of the game.
• With 13 goals this season, Griffin Loughran is back atop the national standings in the category and ranks 27th nationally in points per game (1.17) while his 21 points is tied for 12th. His 0.72 goals per game average ranks second nationally following the weekend series.
• Among active defensemen, Philip Beaulieu ranks 15th in points per game in 2019-20, averaging 0.83 (1-14-15). His 111 career points (21-90-111) is the most among all current defensemen.
• Following the win, Kent ranks ninth in win percentage this season (.714) with a 5-2-0 record.
• Averaging 3.22 goals per game, the Wildcat offense ranks 12th in the nation while their 23.4 percent success rate on the power play is also 12th.
Following the holiday break, the Wildcats will hit the road to Bowling Green, Ohio for a rematch of the 2019 WCHA Semifinals, January 3-4.