ESTERO, Fla. — The Northern Michigan hockey team was downed by Cornell, 5-2, Wednesday afternoon in its opening game of the Florida College Hockey Classic.
Five different skaters netted goals to send the Big Red into tomorrow's championship game at Germain Arena.
In the tilt's first seven minutes, the teams traded power-play goals. Cornell opened the scoring at 4:51 when Eric Freschi threaded a cross-ice pass to Jeff Kubiak by the left post for the score.
Dominik Shine's seventh strike of the season evened the score at 6:33. Brock Maschmeyer, who had tested Mitch Gillam with two bullets from the point earlier in the man advantage, dished the puck to Shine, and Shine blasted a one-timer into the upper right corner of the net from the left circle's outside hash marks.
The Big Red took a 2-1 lead at 15:03 of the first period. On the rush, Trevor Yates carried the puck into the Wildcats' end and then fired the puck over Atte Tolvanen's shoulder from the top of the right circle.
Cornell wasted little time extending its edge in the middle stanza. Just 31 seconds in, after Tolvanen made two saves on point-blank looks, Jake Weidner corralled a deflected shot and fed Alex Rauter. From the middle of the right circle, Rauter beat Tolvanen glove side.
With just under 12 minutes on the clock, Shine nearly cut the Big Red lead to one while shorthanded. Connor Frantti sprung Shine ahead after winning a battle along the boards, and Shine used a toe drag to walk around his defender. Gillam managed to stop Shine's shot, and a charging Maschmeyer directed the rebound just wide of the right post.
At 12:05, Matt Buckles netted a Patrick McCarron rebound to give the Big Red a 4-1 advantage. With just under three minutes remaining in the second period, Tolvanen, who stopped 19 shots in that frame alone, came up with a pad save on a Buckles breakaway bid to keep the Wildcats within three tallies.
Mitch Vanderlaan netted Cornell's fifth goal at 2:31 of the third period. Darien Craighead capped the game's scoring with a power-play marker at the 18:06 mark, taking a pass from Collin Peters and flipping the puck over a sprawling Gillam.
Northern Michigan will take on the loser of tonight's tilt between Colorado College and Merrimack in the Florida College Hockey Classic's consolation game tomorrow at 4 p.m.
NOTES: Northern Michigan and Cornell are tied in the all-time series, 3-3-0 ... The Wildcats are now 21-19-1 all-time in holiday tournament play ... Northern Michigan allowed a season-high 42 shots on goal; in their first 20 games, the Wildcats had not allowed more than 40 shots in a single game ... With 37 saves, Tolvanen tied his season high, set on Nov. 25 against Omaha; it was his 19th career 30-save effort ... Shine, Northern Michigan's leading goal scorer, has netted three goals in the past four games ... The Wildcats scored both of their goals on the man advantage; it the third time in 2016-17 that they finished with more than one power-play tally ... Shine led all skaters with six shots ... Shane Sooth made his season debut; he ranks third among current Wildcats with 112 career games played.