BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WLUC) — Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (3-5-0, 2-2-0-0 WCHA) took an early lead and held on for a 2-0 victory over No. 9/10 Bowling Green State University (6-2-1, 1-1-0-0 WCHA) Saturday evening. The victory sealed a road Western Collegiate Hockey Association series split for the Wildcats.
For the fourth time this season, the Wildcats scored the first goal of the contest when senior defenseman Connor Frantti (Spring Grove, Illinois) netted the second goal of his career. His first point of the season came at 4:27 of the opening period with assists going to freshman forward Garrett Klee (Morrison, Colorado) and sophomore forward Caleb Schroer (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin).
NMU's defense was able to fend off the high powered BGSU offense for the rest of the opening period to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The Wildcats successfully defensed against 16 shots and stopped a pair of power play opportunities for the Falcons.
It was all defense in the second period with the Falcons' attack giving NMU plenty of action. Senior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) made 15 stops in the period and held BGSU without a goal. His 15 saves in the period were the second-most in a period for Tolvanen this season.
For the second-consecutive period, the Wildcats also stopped a pair of power play chances for their opponents. The defensive pressure helped NMU maintain their 1-0 lead heading into the final period of the series.
INSURANCE AND THE SPLIT
After a penalty against the Falcons near the end of the second period, NMU began the third period with an advantage. Junior defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota) took advantage of the power play chance, netting his first goal of the year just 26 seconds in. The Wildcats second goal of the contest came with assists from senior forwards Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) and Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California).
The Wildcats stopped 10 shots and killed three penalties in the final period to secure a victory in the second game of the series. The 2-0 win gave NMU their second-consecutive WCHA split to in the early stages of the conference season.
Tolvanen continued his climb up the Wildcat record book with his 10th shutout in an NMU sweater, tied for second-most in program history. He made 35 saves in Saturday's victory for his second 30-plus save effort of the season. For the season, Tolvanen owns a .917 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.50.
Coming into the weekend, Bowling Green had the NCAA's top offense scoring more than five goals per contests and a 32.5% power play percentage. NMU held the Falcons to just three goals over two games and stopped all 13 BGSU power play opportunities in the series.
The Wildcats will return to the Berry Events Center for their final nonconference series of the season against Cornell University. It will be the seventh and eight matchups all-time between the two programs with each team owning three victories in the all-time series. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday evenings.