MARQUETTE, Mich.—No. 20 Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (6-4, 4-2, WCHA) earned revenge on their home ice with a 4-0 shutout of Michigan Technological University (5-6-2, 3-5-2) Saturday evening in a packed Berry Events Center.
After falling in the series opener on the road, the Wildcats controlled the tempo from the start outshooting the Huskies 13-4 in the opening period. Freshman forward Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alberta) got the scoring started with his second career goal in as many nights at 16:12 of the period. Senior forward Zach Diamantoni (Montgomery, New Jersey) and senior defender Jordan Klimek (Langley, British Columbia) picked up assists on the play, Diamontoni's second and Klimek's third.
Just over a minute later, senior forward Robbie Payne (Gaylord, Michigan) found his first goal of the weekend and eighth of the year with sophomore forward Darien Craighead (Surrey, British Columbia) and junior defender James Vermeulen (Stony Plain, Alberta) earning the assists. For Craighead, it was his fourth of the year, while Vermeulen picked up his second.
The pair of goals would send NMU into the first intermission with a lead for the fourth time in 2017, with a 2-0 advantage.
For the third time this year, Payne found the net for the second time in Saturday's contest nearly halfway through the second period. Payne recorded a power-play goal at the 8:30 mark of the second period. The score moved the captain into a tie for third in the country with nine goals on the year, two behind the NCAA Division I leader.
Diamontoni recorded his second assist of the game on the play, while junior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) earned his team-leading eighth of the season.
With a 3-0 lead after two periods of play, senior forward Filip Starzynski (Warsaw Poland) added to the Wildcat goal count with his first score of the year. Sophomore defender Rylan Yaremko (Spirit River, Alberta) and sophomore forward Brett Heikkila (Marquette, Michigan) would both lend a helping hand for their first assists of 2017.
The four goals secured a series split with archrival, Michigan Tech, for the squad's third consecutive split and fourth of the season. The Wildcats were able to hold MTU 0-5 in the power-play for the second-consecutive night. NMU is now perfect in their last 15 penalty-kill opportunities, a span that stretch's three games.
Returning to man the goal for NMU was junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) who recorded his second shutout of the year and his fifth victory. Tolvanen recorded 19 saves to bring his season save percentage to .916, while his goal-against-average improved to 2.40.
Next up for the Wildcats is a trip to Alaska, where NMU will take on the University of Alaska Fairbanks (3-7-3, 1-4-1 WCHA). The puck will drop for both Friday and Saturday's contests at 11:07 p.m.