BEMIDJI, Minn. — The Northern Michigan hockey team looks to force a third game in its WCHA quarterfinal series at Bemidji State tonight at 8:07 p.m. (7:07 CT).
The full media notes can be viewed here.
Game One in Review
The Beavers used a three-goal second period to down the Wildcats, who could not solve WCHA goaltending champion Michael Bitzer. Bitzer finished with 30 saves, 16 of which came during the decisive middle stanza.
Bemidji State first struck 1:22 into the middle stanza, netting a goal in transition. The Beavers added a power-play tally at 8:20 and a second even-strength score at 12:36. Gerry Fitzgerald and Phillip Marinaccio had multi-point nights, each registering two helpers.
Northern Michigan held the advantage in shots (30-27) and face-off wins (31-30) and took two fewer penalties than Bemidji State. Dominik Shine led all skaters with six shots on target while Jordan Klimek blocked a team-best three shots.
Wildcats at a Glance
The Wildcats used a second-half surge to secure the eighth seed in the WCHA tournament. At Christmas, they were last in the league with seven points (2-11-1), nine back of the final playoff spot. In 2017, they went 8-4-2 in regular-season play, tied with Minnesota State for the best record in the WCHA, to compile 27 points and move into playoff position.
Northern Michigan went unbeaten in nine games from Jan. 7 to Feb. 11, going 7-0-2. During that streak, Atte Tolvanen blanked five-straight opponents from Jan. 21 to Feb. 11, breaking the WCHA men's record and tying the NCAA men's record.
To date, six Wildcats have recorded at least 20 points: Robbie Payne (13g-15a), Shine (18g-7a), Darien Craighead (7g-18a), Gerard Hanson (6g-16a), Zach Diamantoni (6g-14a) and Brock Maschmeyer (4g-16a). Northern Michigan last had this many skaters meet this threshold in 2011-12 (7).
The Bemidji State/Northern Michigan Series
Bemidji State has won five-straight games against Northern Michigan. The Beavers took all four games from the Wildcats during the regular season. On Oct. 14-15, they won both games at the Berry Events Center by a 2-0 margin behind Bitzer's 42 saves. During the series at the Sanford Center on Nov. 18-19, they skated to 2-1 and 5-2 victories to move to 11-0-1 in the WCHA on the season.
Northern Michigan last topped Bemidji State on Oct. 31, 2015 in Marquette. During that 3-1 victory, Cohen Adair's first goal of the year proved to be the difference as Tolvanen made 34 saves, including 14 in the third period, to stymie the Beaver offense. They last pulled off a win at the Sanford Center on Jan. 4, 2014. In that 3-1 win, they netted a goal during each period to seal their first road sweep of the 2013-14 campaign.
Wildcats in the Postseason
Since re-joining the WCHA in 2013-14, the Wildcats have made the eight-team tournament every season. They were seeded seventh in 2014, sixth in 2015, fifth in 2016 and eighth this season. In four of their seven tournament games, they fell by a one-goal margin, with two of their losses coming in overtime.
Shane Sooth (3g-2a), Maschmeyer (2g-2a) and Shine (1g-3a) are Northern Michigan's leading point producers in postseason play.
Despite being held off the score sheet last night, Shine remains the WCHA's leader in overall goals (18). He recorded 13 in conference play, placing him in a tie for third.
Craighead's point streak was snapped at six games. Over that stretch, he compiled eight points (2g-6a). His point streak was the second-longest posted by an active Wildcat, behind Shine (nine games from Jan. 30 to Feb. 27, 2016). Craighead, who is tied with Shine for second on the team with 25 points, is the first Wildcat since 2007-08 to record at least 20 during his freshman season.
Maschmeyer is the first Wildcat defenseman to reach the 20-point plateau since 2011-12. Philip Beaulieu (3g-16a) needs one point to reach this threshold; if he gets it, he will become the first Wildcat rookie blueliner since 2007-08 to do so.
Tolvanen has appeared in 36 of Northern Michigan's 37 games during the 2016-17 campaign. He currently leads the nation in goalie games played and stands in a tie for ninth in school history.
The Wildcats suffered their sixth shutout loss of the season last night, matching the single-season school record set in 2014-15. The rest of their shutout losses happened before December and were by a 2-0 margin.
Northern Michigan was last blanked in postseason action on March 5, 2011 by Bowling Green at the Berry Events Center. The Falcons took the second game of their CCHA first-round series with the Wildcats, 2-0, behind Andrew Hammond's 29 saves.
Maschmeyer Finalist for Senior CLASS Award®
Maschmeyer was selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2016-17 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate hockey. NCAA Division I seniors who have notable achievements in four areas—community, classroom, character and competition—are eligible for this award
Wildcat fans can vote for Maschmeyer daily by visiting the Senior CLASS Award® website. Fan voting runs until March 28 and is one third of the criteria that determines the winner. Maschmeyer's full profile can be found here.
The Next Time Out
If the Wildcats win, game three will be tomorrow at 6:07 p.m. (5:07 CT).