Wildcat Hockey Dropped by Minnesota State

Wildcat Hockey Dropped by Minnesota State

MANKATO, Minn. — The Northern Michigan hockey team dropped a 7-4 decision at Minnesota State Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Center.

Troy Loggins's second power-play tally of the game drew the Wildcats within a single strike halfway through the second period, but the Mavericks scored two unanswered goals in the third to pull away and move to 18-10-4 (14-8-4 WCHA) on the season.

During Minnesota State's first power play, Northern Michigan had two quality chances. First, Brock Maschmeyer sprung himself ahead, but Aaron Nelson batted his shot wide. Then, Zach Diamantoni and Dominik Shine generated a 2-on-1 rush; Diamantoni drew the defenseman and dished the puck to Shine, who was stoned by Nelson. Nelson managed to cover the puck before Diamantoni could bury it.

The Mavericks eventually capitalized on that man advantage to take a 1-0 lead. With just two seconds remaining in it, at the 9:15 mark, Daniel Brickley walked across the blue line and fired a seeing-eye wrist shot into the upper right corner of the net.

The Wildcats evened the score with a power-play goal of their own at 11:31. After Diamantoni won a face-off, Darien Craighead immediately skated in on Nelson. He then dished the puck to a wide-open Loggins at the right edge of the crease to tap into the empty net.

Atte Tolvanen came up big on Minnesota State's next man advantage, denying a low Brickley bullet that found its way through traffic and a point-blank bid by Zach Stepan. But, five seconds after Anthony Paskaruk was released from the box, Charlie Gerard made it a 2-1 game. Tolvanen denied Josh French's initial shot, and then Gerard's first attempt to pot the rebound, but Gerard's second try made it past him at the 14:30 mark.

Luke Voltin tied the game just over two minutes later. After picking off a Maverick pass at the blue line, he raced down the ice and wired a shot into the right corner of the net at 16:47.

Minnesota State again responded to go back up by one. Twenty two seconds after Voltin's equalizer, Zeb Knutson cut down a Wildcat breakout pass along the right boards. He then sent a cross-ice pass to Stepan for the score.

The offensive onslaught continued into the middle stanza. Knutson made it a 4-2 game just 2:10 in, taking a feed from Parker Tuomie and beating Tolvanen five-hole. 

Craighead pulled Northern Michigan back within one at 3:19. Jordan Klimek's point shot took a big bounce off the end wall and ended up on the goal line. Craighead was there to alertly slide it inside the right post before Nelson could get in a position to stop him.

Less than two minutes later, at the 4:52 mark, Minnesota State went back up by two when Nicholas Rivera's wrist shot from the blue line glanced off of Tolvanen's glove and into the back of the net.

The Wildcats had two chances to pull within one in the middle portion of the frame. First, with just under 12 minutes remaining, Maschmeyer and Shine created a quick 2-on-1 opportunity in the waning seconds of a Northern Michigan power play. Carter Foguth blocked Maschmeyer's pass, and Nelson covered the loose puck before Shine could push it past him. Four minutes later, Shine rang the post during another Wildcat power play. 

On that same power play, Loggins netted his second goal of the game to make it a 5-4 game. At 12:45, Philip Beaulieu's point shot hit a man in front and trickled over to Loggins at the edge of the right circle. Loggins beat Nelson cleanly to chase him from the net.

The Mavericks iced the game by scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of the third period to turn their 5-4 lead into a 7-4 advantage. First, just 39 seconds in on a carry-over man advantage, C.J. Franklin came up with a rebound caught in his skates and sent it home. Then, at 8:21, Marc Michaelis carried the puck into the Northern Michigan end on a 2-on-1 break, looked off his teammate and fired a shot into the net.

Minnesota State limited the Wildcats to just seven shots after Cole Huggins took over for Nelson.

The Wildcats, now 11-19-4 (9-14-3 WCHA), return to the ice next on Feb. 24-25 when they square off against rival Michigan Tech in a home-and-home series. Both games will be televised on Fox UP/TV6.

NOTES: Minnesota State leads the all-time series, 9-2-3 ... Northern Michigan scored three of its four goals on the power play; the Wildcats last scored at least three man-advantage goals on Nov. 7, 2015 at Alaska (4 PPG, 5-2 win) ... Loggins enjoyed the first multi-goal effort of his collegiate career ... With three helpers, Diamantoni tied his career high in both points and assists, last accomplished on Oct. 8 against Wisconsin ... Diamantoni, who netted two goals on Friday, finished the weekend with five points (2g-3a) ... Diamantoni was one point shy of tying Robbie Payne for the best weekend by a Wildcat in 2016-17; Payne registered six points (2g-4a) against Wisconsin during the Resch Center series on Oct. 7-8 ... Voltin's goal was his second of the season; he first found the back of the net on Oct. 21 at Ferris State ... Craighead's goal was his first in 2017; he last netted a goal on Dec. 28 against Cornell at the Florida College Hockey Classic ... Tolvanen finished with 41 saves despite allowing a career-worst seven goals; he has made at least 30 saves in seven-straight games ... Tolvanen faced 48 shots, tying the most he has ever faced; he also faced 48 on Feb. 11 against Alaska, a 2-0 Northern Michigan victory ... The Wildcats were last swept on Dec. 9-10 against Alabama-Huntsville at the Berry Events Center ... Northern Michigan last allowed seven goals on Feb. 21, 2014 at Michigan Tech, a 7-4 setback ... Brickley had a three-point night (1g-2a) for the Mavericks; Gerard (1g-1a), Knutson (1g-1a),  Rivera (1g-1a), Ian Schneid (2a) and Tuomie (2a) also had multi-point outings.