MARQUETTE, Michigan – Although the Wildcats lost, 3-1, to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, head coach Walt Kyle feels “pretty good,” about the play of his Northern Michigan University hockey ‘Cats in their response to the 8-1 loss they suffered the night before. The ‘Cats lost to the Irish, 8-1, on Friday, Jan. 7, but responded with a 3-1 loss on Saturday, Jan. 8. The ‘Cats are now 9-11-4 overall and 7-7-2 in the CCHA while Notre Dame boasts a 14-7-3 overall record and a 11-4-1-1 record in the CCHA.
Notre Dame started the game with a quick goal as T.J. Tynan put one past Wildcat goalie Jared Coreau after just 2:20 of play in the first period. From there, both teams went on to go scoreless on power plays in the first period before Notre Dame forward Sean Lorenze scored at 19:31 of the first period. Although the ‘Cats went into the first intermission down 2-0, the first period of play found the ‘Cats outshooting Notre Dame 11-8. The first period was called into intermission for resurfacing immediately following the second goal by Notre Dame with 26 seconds to play because a chuck of ice became dislodged from the playing surface. The referee decided it would be best to go into intermission and have the two teams play the final seconds of the first period after the resurfacing of the ice.
In the second period, Wildcat forward Andrew Cherniwchan was called for a five minute major, and after the ‘Cats killed off 4:59 of the penalty, Irish forward Sam Calabrese finally connected on a pass from Ryan Guentzel during the power play to make the score 3-0. Following the goal the Wildcats replaced Coreau with junior goaltender Reid Ellingson. Behind the confident play of Ellingson, the Wildcats managed to put a goal on the scoreboard as Justin Florek scored his eighth goal of the season with assists from Phil Fox and Scott Macaulay. Ellingson went on to save the remaining five Notre Dame shots in the second period.
In the third period the Wildcats continued their steady play and outshot Notre Dame, 7-5. In the third period both teams had power-play opportunities but were unable to connect. When the final buzzer rang the Irish held the 3-1 advantage over the Wildcats. Both teams finished the night with one power play goal as the Irish went 1 for 7 while the ‘Cats were 1 for 6. The ‘Cats outshot the Irish, 25-20, in the game. NMU goalie Reid Ellingson finished the night with 10 saves on 10 shots while Jared Coreau had 7 saves on 10 shots. Irish goaltender Mike Johnson had 24 saves on 25 shots.