Wildcats Fall to Huskies in Series Opener

Wildcats Fall to Huskies in Series Opener

MARQUETTE, Mich.—No. 20 Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (5-4, 3-2 WCHA) fell victim to archrival Michigan Technological University (5-5-2, 3-4-2) Friday night in Houghton, Michigan. The Wildcats fell, 4-1, in the opener of the weekend's home-and-home series.

Neither team could find much offense in the opening ten minutes of action. The Wildcats could muster just a pair of shots in the span, but the NMU defense held the Huskies' power-play in check. MTU failed to score with an on-ice advantage on two occasions in the first ten minutes, with NMU going perfect in the penalty kill.

Shortly after the second penalty kill, the Huskies took a 1-0 advantage on the first score of the contest. The Wildcat defense lost the puck just in the NMU goal crease, while MTU was able to get a stick on it to send it into the net.

With just under five minutes to play in the first period, Michigan Tech went up a pair on their eighth shot of the period. At the first intermission, the Huskies had outshot the Wildcats 10-4 while holding their 2-0 advantage.

NMU began to find an offensive rhythm to begin the second period, taking the first six shots. However, the first shot of the second period for MTU found its way into the net giving the Huskies a 3-0 lead at the 7:01 mark of the period.

Halfway through the second, Michigan Tech went up four goals with their second score of the period. The Wildcats would outshoot their rivals in the period, though, with an 13-9 advantage in the category at the second intermission.

One of those 11 shots came from freshman forward Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alberta) who scored his first collegiate goal 14:49 into the period. Senior defender Jordan Klimek (Langley British Columbia) earned his first assist of the year, while junior defender Ryan Black (Stillwater, Minnesota) picked up his second. The power-play goal trimmed their deficit to three headed into the final period.

Neither team scored in the final period with the Wildcat offense cooling after a strong second period. For the contest, NMU was outshot 32-21, but did finish the game perfect in the penalty kill going 6-6. Additionally, the Wildcats went 1-4 in the power-play courtesy of Nardi's score.  

Sophomore goaltender Mathias Israelsson (Ytterby, Sweden) took the loss between the pipes, falling to 1-1 on the season. Israelsson recorded a season high 28 saves in the loss.

NMU will return to Marquette, Michigan on Saturday to host Michigan Tech in the Berry Events Center. The Wildcats will look for revenge when the puck drops at 7 p.m.