MARQUETTE, Mich. – After a tight close game after 40 minutes of play with Northern Michigan up 2-0 the Wildcats exploded for four goals in the third period to defeat Ohio State, 6-1, to take the best-of-three series against the Buckeyes. NMU moves on in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) playoffs to face Michigan State in the second round in East Lansing, Mich. beginning on Friday (March 14). NMU is 2-2-0 against the Spartans this season. The second round is also a best-of-three series.
Tonight it was Mark Olver’s turn to extend the season for the ‘Cats. He had two goals and an assist for three points on the night. Erik Gustafsson picked up two more assists as he ended the series with seven helpers, which is a new NMU record for a series.
NMU improves to 17-18-4 on the season while OSU concludes its season at 12-25-4. “We talk all year about winning games in the third period and winning playoff series late,” said Walt Kyle. “I am very happy with what happened.”
Olver scored the first two goals of the game to get the ‘Cats rolling. His first goal was at 19:04 of the first period, when he raced down the side boards and wristed one in for his 17th of the season. Andrew Sarauer assisted on the goal. Olver made it 2-0 with his 18th marker of the season at 14:48 of the second period on the power play. “It was a great performance by the whole team,” said Olver. “We just wanted to get pucks at the net. Gustafsson and Jared Brown assisted.
At 1:24 of the third period Phil Fox scored his 12th goal of the season to give the ‘Cats a 3-0 lead. Olver and TJ Miller assisted. Brown made the count 4-0 with a power-play goal at 2:06 for his eighth goal of the season. Gustafsson assisted. OSU made the score 4-1 with a goal by Peter Boyd at 3:24. Matt Siddall scored NMU’s third power-play goal of the night at 7:41 for the 5-1 lead. Assisting on Siddall’s 16th goal of the season was Alan Dorich. NMU’s final goal of the night was an empty-net marker by Billy Smith for his fourth goal of the season. Blake Cosgrove and Brown assisted.
The Buckeyes had a six-shot edge for the game at 36-30. Each side had eight power play opportunities as the ‘Cats were 3-8 and the Buckeyes 0-8. Brian Stewart picked up first-star of the game honors with 35 saves. Joseph Palmer had 24 saves in the loss.
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