BIG RAPIDS, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (2-1, 1-0 WCHA) opened up Western Collegiate Hockey Association play with a 3-2 victory over Ferris State University (1-2, 0-1 WCHA) Saturday evening on the road.
The Bulldogs began the game attacking heavily on the offensive end of the ice. FSU recorded the first seven shots of the contest, including a possession with back to back shots from just in front of the goal crease.
NMU recorded one shot in the first 10 minutes of action, with that shot coming from freshman forward Caleb Schroer (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) Recording six shots in the second half of the period, NMU scored the first goal of the game when freshman defender Adam Roeder (Ballwin, Missouri) found the net at the 15:21 mark. Roeder scored his first collegiate goal on assists from sophomore forward Darien Craighead (Surrey, British Columbia) and senior forward Robbie Payne (Gaylord, Michigan). It was the second assist of the year for Craighead, while Payne earned his first.
Early in the second period, the Wildcats found themselves in the penalty kill after a slashing penalty on junior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) Additionally, NMU was called for having too many men on the ice giving the Bulldogs a 5-3 skater advantage. A strange sequence of events evened the game at one goal each when a shot by FSU's Mitch Maloney went off the post, bounced off the glass behind the goal, hit junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihiti, Finland) in the back, and fell into the goal for a score.
Payne continued his scoring streak with his fifth goal of the season at the 13:19 mark of the second period. Freshman forward Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alberta) was credited with assist for his second of the year. Payne, the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, came into the contests tied for the NCAA lead in goals scored and has scored atleast one goal in all three games this season.
Another power-play for Ferris St. late in the period knotted up the contest at two goal each when FSU's Ryker Killins found a goal with 45 seconds to play in the period. The Wildcat have struggled in the penalty-kill in 2017 allowing six power-play goals against in 13 opportunities.
Handing out four assists this season, Loggins scored a goal of his own in the third period to give NMU a 3-2 advantage seven minutes, 18 seconds into the period. Junior forward Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) picked up the assist on the goal for his third of the season. The score proved to be the game-winner with the Wildcats fending off the Bulldogs for the final 13 minutes of action to secure the win in the WCHA opener.
Tolvanen was a force between the pipes the entire evening facing double-digits shots in every period. While NMU recorded their lowest shot total of the season, Tolvanen faced the most shots through the season's first three contests. The Wildcat goaltender saw 42 shots, successfully defending against 40.
Tolvanen nearly doubled his season save total after successfully defending against 41 shots in the season opening series against Lake Superior State University. It marks the 10th time in his wildcat career the goaltender has recorded 40-or-more saves.
NMU goes for the series sweep on Saturday in Big Rapids, Michigan. The second game of the series is scheduled to begin at 7:07 p.m.