MARQUETTE, Mich. — Atte Tolvanen made 34 saves to lead the Northern Michigan hockey team to a 4-0 blanking of Alaska-Anchorage Saturday night at the Berry Events Center.
Four different skaters found the back of the net to propel the Wildcats past the Seawolves and to their first sweep of the 2016-17 campaign.
Northern Michigan jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 8:34 of the first period. After Ryan Black corralled an Alaska-Anchorage outlet pass in the neutral zone, he sent a cross-ice pass to Shine on the left wing. On the rush, Shine fired a shot on net that Olivier Mantha gloved, but he dropped the puck, allowing a trailing Gerard Hanson to chip it into the net.
At 18:36, Shane Sooth netted a power-play goal to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. After taking a feed from Hanson, he skated in a stride and then fired a shot through a heavily screened Mantha's five hole.
In the middle of the second period, the Seawolves were awarded back-to-back power plays when Demico Hannoun was sent off for interference and Sooth was whistled for cross-checking. Tolvanen came up big during that stretch of time, making eight saves. At one point, he denied Mason Mitchell and Tad Kozun from point-blank range.
Shortly after the Sooth minor expired, Robbie Payne extended Northern Michigan's advantage to 3-0. In transition, Payne dished the puck to Brock Maschmeyer, who immediately gave it back to him. Payne darted into the crease, drawing Mantha with him and then slipped the puck into the empty net at 13:23.
Troy Loggins capped the game's scoring at 3:20 of the third period. Mantha blocked Hannoun's initial shot, but Sami Salminen beat a Seawolf to the loose puck behind the net. He then sent it to Loggins in the slot, who sent a shot past Mantha low glove side.
Northern Michigan did not allow a shot on goal in the final four minutes of regulation to help Tolvanen secure his second career shutout.
The Wildcats, who are off next weekend, return to the ice on Feb. 3-4 when they take on Bowling Green in Bowling Green, Ohio.
NOTES: Northern Michigan leads the all-time series, 20-12-1 ... The Wildcats last swept an opponent on Feb. 19-20, 2016 at the Berry Events Center; they topped Alabama-Huntsville by 3-0 and 3-1 margins ... Northern Michigan's last shutout was pitched on Feb. 19, 2016 by Mathias Dahlstrom, who finished with 19 saves ... This was Tolvanen's second career shutout; during his first, a 0-0 tie with Bemidji State on Oct. 30, 2015, he made a career-high 46 saves ... Nine Wildcats picked up at least one point while Hanson (1g-1a), Sooth (1g-1a) and Maschmeyer (2a) had multi-point outings ... Maschmeyer tied his career high in assists (last on Jan. 7, 2017 against Lake Superior State) while Sooth matched his career high in points (last against Alaska on Jan. 15, 2016) ... Loggins and Payne are now tied for second on the team with seven goals ... Hanson's goal was his fifth of the season, matching his career high set during the 2014-15 campaign ... With the secondary assist on Sooth's goal, Maschmeyer became the 20th Wildcat defenseman to score at least 60 points in his career; he now has 61 points on 23 goals and 38 assists.