MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team defeated U.P-rival Lake Superior State 3-1 on Friday (March 1) night in the opening game of the final Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular season series from the Berry Events Center. The Wildcats scored a goal in the first period and added two more in the third and junior goaltender Jared Coreau had a season-high 50 saves.
With the win, NMU moves to 15-16-4 overall and 9-14-4-1 in the CCHA. The 'Cats trail the Lakers 7-4 in the season's total goal battle for the Cappo Cup. LSSU is 15-19-1 overall and 10-16-1-1 in conference action.
"I thought offensively we did some really good things," NMU coach Walt Kyle said. "We had some great opportunities to score. I was happy with our offensive chances but I wasn't happy with our quality of play. We didn't take care of the puck."
Sophomore forward Reed Seckel had a goal and two assists on the night. He opened the scoring 13:40 into the game with his team-leading 13th goal of the season from senior defenseman Scott Macaulay and junior forward Erik Higby.
"Seckel played really well tonight," Kyle added. "He was in on all three of our goals and made great plays on two of them."
Higby made it 2-0 with a power-play goal from Seckel and senior defenseman Kyle Follmer 1:59 into the second. It was his ninth of the season.
Thurber scored his sixth of the season on a breakaway with 3:00 left in the third. Seckel and Follmer assisted.
LSSU got on the board late (18:15) with a shorthanded goal off the stick of Bryce Schmitt. Andrew Perrault assisted on goal.
"I said last week that I was happy with our quality of play and we lost on Saturday night," Kyle said. "On the flip side we can win and not play quality hockey. We gave up 50 shots tonight and gave up a shorty with three minutes left instead of a shutout. I was not happy with it. You got to be better than that heading into the playoffs."
Northern had a season-high 39 shots on goal but was outshot by the visitors (51-39). Kevin Kapalka turned aside 36 shots for the Lakers.
The 'Cats were 1-for-4 on the man advantage. The Lakers were 0-for-2.
The two teams wrap up the series and regular season on Saturday (March 2). The puck drops at 7:35 p.m. NMU seniors Follmer, Kory Kaunisto, Macaulay, Brian Nugent and Thurber will be honored on the ice before the game.
Fans are encouraged to bring new socks to the game to toss on the ice during the chuck-a-puck. The socks will be donated to the Room at the Inn.
Game Notes: Coreau's career-high for saves is 51 at Notre Dame on Dec. 11, 2010…Higby has four goals and three assists in his last six games. He is on a three-game point streak…NMU swept LSSU last season to end the regular season.
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