SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Northern Michigan University hockey Wildcats may have been outshot 53-15 by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but the ‘Cats were able to connect on three of those 15 shots to beat the Irish 3-2 in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action on Saturday, Dec. 11. With the win the ‘Cats improve to 8-7-3 overall and 7-4-2-0 in the CCHA while the Irish remain in third place in the CCHA at 10-6-2 overall and 8-4-1-1 in the conference.
Wildcat goalie Jared Coreau came up with three solid saves on the Notre Dame power play, which gave NMU the momentum to jump out to an early lead as Tyler Gron scored a power play goal midway through the first period to give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead. Kyle Follmer and and Greger Hanson tallied assists on the goal which was Gron’s 11thgoal of the season. The ‘Cats then went on to kill another Notre Dame penalty before earning a power play opportunity of their own. On the second Wildcat power play of the night sophomore Wildcat defenseman Scott Macaulay buried the puck in the Notre Dame net to put the ‘Cats up 2-0 going into the first intermission. The goal was the first of the season for Macaulay and he was assisted by Phil Fox and Stephan Vigier.
Jared Coreau registered seven saves in the first two minutes of the second period which was coupled with two blocked shots by defenseman Kyle Follmer to fight off Notre Dame who came out strong in the second stanza. Wildcat head coach Walt Kyle called a timeout with 16:49 remaining in the period to talk things over with his team which seemed to pay off as sophomore Brian Nugent increased the NMU lead to 3-0 after he scored an even strength goal at the 15:18 mark of the period with assists by Macaulay and Higby. NMU was able to take that lead into the second intermission.
Midway through the third period the Wildcats killed off an intense Notre Dame power play but just 28 seconds later the Fighting Irish scored to make the score 3-1 in NMU’s favor. The Notre Dame goal was scored by David Gerths at 10:17 and his shot was the 46thshot on goal in the game for the Irish.
After Wildcat freshman Stephan Vigier barely missed on a shot that beat Notre Dame but went off the pipe, Notre Dame stormed back into the Wildcat zone and T.J. Tynan scored on goaltender Jared Coreau at 14:21 to put the Fighting Irish within one goal as the ‘Cats still remained in the lead, 3-2. With just over two minutes left to play, NMU freshman CJ Ludwig was whistled for holding sending Notre Dame onto the power play. The Wildcat defense managed to block all three Notre Dame shots during the power play and the ‘Cats went on to win, 3-2.
Jared Coreau ended the night with 51 saves on 53 shots while Notre Dame’s Mike Johnson ended with 12 saves on 15 shots. The Wildcats killed all six of Notre Dames power plays while scoring on two of three power play attempts of their own.
The ‘Cats and Fighting Irish will play the second game of their two-game series on Sunday, December 12 at 4:00 p.m. and the game will be televised by Comcast.