EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team dug themselves a hole and tried to get out of it against the Michigan State Spartans on Friday night, but fell just short. NMU was down 5-1 entering the third period of play, but scored three goals in the final frame and lost 5-4. The Wildcats are still in search of its first conference win of the season. NMU is now 1-4-0 overall and 0-3-0 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). MSU improves to 3-1-0 and 1-0-0 respectively.
Nick Sirota gave the ‘Cats the early 1-0 lead when he scored his third goal of the season at 2:38 of the first period. Jared Brown picked up his first collegiate assist as Gregor Hanson also assisted on the goal. MSU tied the game one-all at 9:53 when Justin Abdelkader scored a power-play goal.
The second period saw the Spartans open up the game with four goals to take a four-goal lead after 40 minutes of play. Goals were scored by Andrew Rowe (3:19), Matt Schepke (5:28), Corey Tropp (7:00) and Tim Kennedy (15:04).
The ‘Cats did not quit. Ray Kaunisto scored his first goal of the season at 8:10 of the final frame to cut the lead to 5-2. Erik Gustafsson assisted on the goal. It was Tim Hartung’s turned as he scored his first goal of the season at 14:19 to get the ‘Cats within two at 5-3. Alan Dorich and Nathan Sigmund assisted. Kaunisto scored his second goal of the night with the extra attacker at 19:36 for the final score. The goal was unassisted.
Shots were even as both sides had 25 for the night. Brian Stewart started the game between the pipes for the ‘Cats and lasted two periods. He ended the night with 14 saves. Derek Janzen played the final 20 minutes as he turned away six shots. Jeff Lerg for MSU had 21 saves in the win. Each side had two power-play opportunities as the Spartans cashed one in and the ‘Cats were blanked.
Game two of the weekend set will be tomorrow night (Oct. 27) at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing. The puck will drop at 7:05 p.m.
### NMU ###
Sports Information Director