SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WLUC) — Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (6-8-0, 5-3-0-0 WCHA) fought to a series split with No. 20 Lake Superior State University (7-4-1, 4-3-1-0 WCHA) by earning a 2-1 win Saturday evening in Taffy Abel Arena.
After neither team was able to score in the opening period on Friday, the Wildcats wasted little time getting on the scoreboard Saturday evening. Junior forward Luke Voltin (Blaine, Minnesota) netted his first goal of the season and fourth of his career just 2:19 into the game with the assist going to freshman forward Jarrett Lee (Hibbing, Minnesota). For Lee, it was his first collegiate point.
After scoring the first goal of the game, the Lakers outshot NMU, 10-3, in the opening period. However, the Wildcat defense managed to hold the LSSU offense at bay stopping all 10 shot attempts and a trio of Laker power play chances.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net during the second period, but the Wildcats did outshoot their opponents, 9-6. NMU also killed another penalty in the period making them 4-4 in the penalty kill through two periods of action. Three Wildcats each attempted a pair of shots on-goal in the period including senior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California), sophomore forward Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alberta), and freshman forward Vincent de Mey (Los Angeles, California).
EMPYT NET GOAL
The third period went much the same way as the first with neither team able to score for the first 18-plus minutes. At 18:44, the Wildcats scored an empty net goal for the third time season when Loggins netted his sixth goal of the season. NMU went up a pair with the goal which saw senior forward Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) credited with his team-leading eighth assist of the season.
Despite the Lakers getting their first goal of the contest with just 12 seconds to play, the two-goal Wildcat lead was too much for LSSU to overcome. NMU held on for a 2-1 victory forcing a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series split.
Each season, the Wildcats and Lakers compete for the Cappo Cup given to the winner of the season series. With the Wildcat victory, each team has one win in the season series, but the Lakers own a 5-4 lead in goal differential. NMU has won the season series in back-to-back campaigns.
ATTE IN GOAL
Senior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) finished with 25 saves on Friday to bring his weekend total to 59 and season total to 356. His season total leads the WCHA and is currently third-most in the NCAA. His season save percentage now sits at .918 while his goals against average is 2.31
Tolvanen has the opportunity to continue his climb up the NMU record book in the coming weeks. He is one shutout away from tying the program record with 12 in his career and is three wins away from cracking the program's top-five for wins, currently owning 47. He already sits in the career top-five for games played, saves, save percentage, and goals against average.
The Wildcats will now head to South Bend, Indiana for a midweek match up with No. 8 University of Notre Dame. The two teams will square off on Tuesday evening with puck drop set for 7:30 in Compton Family Ice Arena. It will be the first matchup between the two programs since the 2012-13 campaign.