Wildcat Hockey Outlasted by Michigan Tech, 3-2

MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan hockey team was outlasted by Michigan Tech, 3-2, Friday night at the Berry Events Center in front of 4,026 fans. 

Ryan Black's first collegiate goal drew the Wildcats within a single strike early in the third period, but the Huskies withstood a late flurry to move to 18-12-7 on the season.

Robbie Payne gave Northern Michigan a 1-0 lead just 3:15 into the game. While taking a check, Brock Maschmeyer directed a shot on net that was blocked by Cliff Watson in the slot. The puck kicked over to Darien Craighead, who found Payne for the tap-in goal with a no-look backhanded pass that went through Watson's legs.

Michigan Tech evened the score at the 11:54 mark after a long goalmouth scramble. After multiple Huskies had a whack at the loose puck, it finally skittered out to Watson to fire past Atte Tolvanen.

The middle stanza was marred by extended time spent on special teams. Northern Michigan took three penalties, including a five-minute major during the first two minutes of the frame.

Tolvanen made nine saves, and the players in front of him blocked seven shots, when the Wildcats were on the penalty kill. One of Tolvanen's most impressive stops came during Northern Michigan's second penalty kill; with seconds left in that kill, Tolvanen denied Jake Lucchini's point shot with a kick save.

Michigan Tech took its first lead of the game at 11:06. In transition, Chris Leibinger dished the puck to Thomas Beretta, who deflected it past Tolvanen. Shane Hanna made it a two-goal game at 16:45 by finding the back of the net with seven seconds remaining in a Husky man advantage.

At 6:59 of the third, Black pulled the Wildcats back within one. After taking a lateral pass from Maschmeyer, Black skated into the middle of the left circle and fired a shot on net that made its way through traffic and skirted past Angus Redmond.

Just after Black's goal, Shine nearly drew Northern Michigan even, but Redmond squared up and smothered his point-blank bid. Later on, he fought off traffic to deny Jordan Klimek from the point.

With 18:38 on the clock, the Wildcats pulled Tolvanen for the extra skater. Early on, Shine's shot went wide, but the puck deflected back in front. Gerard Hanson just missed collecting it and sending it home. Later, Northern Michigan came close to netting the equalizer during a goalmouth scramble, but Redmond managed to cover the puck as the buzzer sounded. 

The Wildcats, now 11-20-4 (9-15-3 WCHA), wrap up their series with the Huskies tomorrow in Houghton, Mich. at 7:07 p.m.

Before the game, Northern Michigan honored seniors Hanson, Maschmeyer, Casey Purpur, Sami Salminen, Shine and Shane Sooth.

NOTES: Northern Michigan leads the all-time series, 69-60-14 ... The teams combined to take 61 shots, with the Wildcats holding a 31-30 edge ... Tolvanen finished with 27 saves, snapping his streak of stopping at least 30 at seven games ... Maschmeyer tied his career high with two assists, last accomplished on Jan. 21 against Alaska-Anchorage; it was his seventh career multi-assist effort ... Black, a sophomore netted his first goal in his 56th career game .. With a helper, Purpur picked up his first point since Dec. 2 at Alaska-Anchorage ... Payne has eight goals in Northern Michigan's past nine games ... The 4,026 attendance was the highest at the Berry Events Center in 2016-17.