MARQUETTE, Mich. — The final home game of the regular season turned into a barn burner at the Berry Events Center as the Northern Michigan University hockey team fell to Michigan Tech, 8-4, Friday night.
The Huskies jumped out to a quick three-goal lead before two Wildcat seniors scored in the final minutes of the first period to head to the locker rooms down by one, 3-2.
NMU evened the shots up through the middle frame, with both teams firing 22 shots on net. Both teams added a goal to their tally as the Wildcats entered the third period still down by one, 4-3.
Vincent de Mey would score once more for the Wildcats in the third period but it was not enough as the Huskies found the back of the net four more times for the final 8-4 score.
Phil Beaulieu got the Wildcats on the board at 17:59. As the Wildcat net stood empty due to a delayed penalty call on the Huskies, Beaulieu capitalized on the six-on-three chance to bring his team within two late in the opening period. Darien Craighead and Vincent de Mey picked up the assists on the goal.
His classmate, fellow senior Darien Craighead tallied the next goal just 29 seconds later during the Wildcats' five-on-three opportunity. Playing a game of tic-tac-toe, Beaulieu's initial shot was blocked by a Husky defenders before Vincent de Mey fired one on net. Craighead and Loughran both tapped at the puck on the doorstep before Craighead was able to corral it for the score.
Following a Husky goal early in the middle period, Griffin Loughran brought the Wildcats back within one as he scored his 23rd of the year as he slid up the slot to Jurusik's blocker side and caught him in motion for the third goal of the night. Joseph Nardi fed Loughran the puck for his 19th team-leading assist of the season.
The final Wildcat tally came off the stick of de Mey. On the power play, the Wildcats rush, led by Brandon Schultz and de Mey, beat a handful of defenders into the offensive end. With no open lane in front, Schultz sent the puck over to de Mey who picked up his third point of the night and first goal.
Averaging 0.68 goals per game, Loughran currently ranks sixth among the nation's best in goals per game while his 23 goals is second overall.
With 3.20 goals per game, the Wildcat offense is operating as the 14th highest in the country this season and third in the WCHA.
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The Wildcats close out the regular season Saturday night with a trip to Houghton, Michigan for the final meeting between them and the Huskies of MTU this month.