MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (15-10-3, 13-5-2-2 WCHA) retained the Cappo Cup with a 3-2 victory over Lake Superior State University (6-18-4, 4-13-3-0 WCHA) Saturday evening in the berry Events Center. The Cappo Cup is given annually to the winner of the season series between the two programs.
The Wildcats will also officially advance to postseason play after clinching a spot in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs with the win and University of Alaska Anchorage loss. Currently, NMU is in second place in the league standings with 43 points, two behind preseason favorite Minnesota State University Mankato. The top four teams in the league will host opening round series.
For the second-consecutive night, the Wildcats fell into an early deficit with the Lakers taking a 1-0 lead 1:14 into the contest. This time, NMU quickly found a goal of their own before the five-minute mark. Sophomore defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota) evened the game with his seventh score of the year.
Junior forward Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) and junior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) each recorded assists on the score. For Rockwood, it was his team-leading 22nd of the season, while Loggins recorded his 15th.
Just 26 seconds into the second period, Loggins added to his point total with his second of the game, scoring his sixth goal of the season. Beaulieu intercepted the puck near mid-ice before bouncing it back to Loggins who took it to the net for the goal. The score gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game at 2-1. For Beaulieu, it was his 15th assist of the season.
LSSU managed to tie the game at two goals 4:52 into the second period on a redirected shot at the net. The Laker goal made it a 2-2 contest, a score that lasted the rest of the period despite NMU outshooting their opponents in the frame.
Outshooting the Lakers, 11-6, in the final period, it was only a matter of time before the Wildcats regained the lead. They did so 8:19 into the period after Rockwood cleared the puck down the ice to Loggins. Going all the way to the net, Loggins put a shot wide before grabbing his own rebound and sent it to Beaulieu for his second goal of the game. Beaulieu's eighth goal of the season gave NMU the lead, while Rockwood and Loggins picked up their 23rd and 16th assists. Rockwood is now tied for the NCAA lead in assists with his two Saturday evening.
The lead would hold the rest of the way, securing a 3-2 victory for the Wildcats on their home ice. NMU outshot LSSU 26-19 in the contest marking the 15th time this season they have outshot their opponents. Additionally, they were perfect in the penalty kill for the 13th time this season, holding the Lakers scoreless in four chances.
Junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) improved to 13-5-1 on the season with his 17 saves and fourth consecutive victory between the pipes. Since his return from injury, Tolvanen owns a 7-1-1 mark in 10 contests. For the season, Tolvanen owns a .908 save percentage and 2.52 goals against average.
The victory marked the fourth-consecutive for NMU, who have now swept back to back WCHA series. The victory also marks their sixth-straight win in the Berry Events Center where their overall record this season is 10-2-0.
NMU looks to continue their win streak when they make their second road trip of the season to Alaska next weekend. The Wildcats will take on Alaska Anchorage for a two-game series. The puck will drop at 11:30 p.m. (EDT) both Friday and Saturday evening.