MARQUETTE, Mich. — Robbie Payne's first career hat trick lifted the Northern Michigan hockey team to a 6-3 victory over Lake Superior State Friday night at the Berry Events Center.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 1-0-2 on the season and take a 1-0 lead in the 2015-16 Cappo Cup series.
At 7:14 in the first period, Northern Michigan took advantage of its first power play opportunity of the game to jump out to a 1-0 lead. After taking a Shane Sooth feed at the point, Brock Maschmeyer faked the pass and then rifled a shot into the back of the net through a Sami Salminen screen.
Minutes later, at 11:29, the Wildcats netted a shorthanded marker to extend their lead to 2-0. Darren Nowick stripped the puck from a Laker at the point and sent it ahead to Gerard Hanson. Hanson carried it down the ice and gave it back to a streaking Nowick in front, who slipped it by Gordon Defiel.
Early in the second period, the Lakers capitalized on back-to-back man advantages to even the score at two apiece. But Northern Michigan responded to regain the lead at 10:48 when Nowick won a face off in the Lake Superior State end back to Jordan Klimek, who shuffled it over to Barrett Kaib for the shot. Kaib's shot made it through traffic and past Defiel.
Payne scored the first of his three goals with less than two minutes remaining in the second frame, coming up with the puck in a goal mouth scramble and jamming it past Defiel.
Payne found the score sheet again early in the third period, at the 6:08 mark. After taking the puck the length of the ice, he snapped a shot off Defiel's blocker, which ricocheted off the pipe and in. The sophomore capped the scoring with 52 seconds left on the clock with a power play marker.
The Wildcats and Lakers meet tomorrow night at Taffy Abel Arena at 7:07 p.m.
NOTES: Northern Michigan leads the all-time series 66-38-10 ... Payne is the first Wildcat to net a hat trick since Nowick accomplished the feat at Alabama-Huntsville March 8, 2014 ... Hanson's multi-assist performance was the sixth of his collegiate career and second of the season ... His three helpers matched his career high, set Nov. 29, 2014 at Alaska-Fairbanks ... With an assist on Payne's first goal, James Vermeulen notched his first career point ... The Lakers held a 27-25 edge in shots ... The Wildcats capitalized on all three of their power play opportunities.