EAST LANSING, Mich. - Northern Michigan University freshman goaltender Jared Coreau proved that he is a credible collegiate goaltender when he made his start against the Michigan State Spartans on Friday, Feb. 11. Coreau had 50 saves on 52 shots in the Wildcats 4-2 victory over the Spartans in East Lansing, Mich. With the win the Wildcats (12-15-4, 10-11-2-0 CCHA) move into a tie for seventh place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association while the Spartans (12-15-4, 8-13-2 CCHA) fall to eleventh place.
The first period featured a rather one-side game as Michigan State dominated most of the play. Coreau put a kibosh on multiple Spartan scoring chances including a two-on-zero Spartan rush after the ‘Cats failed to clear the puck from their own zone. The Wildcats closed out the period by killing off the lone penalty of the period allowing no shots on goal while the Spartans had the extra attacker. The two teams were scoreless going into the first intermission with the Spartans outshooting the Wildcats, 16-7.
In the second period Michigan State and Northern Michigan each had various scoring chances. Wildcat Greger Hanson was robbed of a goal by Spartan goaltender Will Yanakeff and later Hanson passed teammate Kyle Follmer into a great opportunity that Yanakeff stopped as well. Coreau continued his stellar play, keeping the Wildcats alive through the period until the Wildcats were able to open the scoring at 17:14 of the second period with a power play goal by Tyler Gron, assisted by Follmer. The Spartans were quick to respond with a power play goal of their own as Torey Krug scored his ninth of the year at 19:33. The ‘Cats and Spartans went into the second intermission tied at one goal apiece with the Spartans winning the shots-on-goal race, 37-20.
The Spartans came out strong in the third period but unfortunately for them, Coreau continued with his great performance. At 6:37 of the third period Justin Florek carried the puck into the Spartan zone and fired a shot past Yanakeff to put the ‘Cats up 2-1. Austin Handley and Erik Higby assisted on the goal. Wildcat Nick Kosinski added to the score just three minutes later (9:44) when he scored his third goal of the year, assisted by Mike Maltese, to put the ‘Cats up, 3-1.
After taking the two-goal lead the Wildcats attempted to settle in for the remainder of the period but after Erik Higby was called for hooking at 13:10 the Wildcats had their work cut out for them. After a Spartan turnover in the Wildcat zone, Cherniwchan went the length of the ice and put a short-handed shot on Yanakeff that he was able to stop. After the whistle the Wildcats and Spartans tangled for a short while which resulted in the Spartans getting a five-on-three power play and multiple players in the penalty box for each team. The Wildcat trio of Florek, Macaulay, and Follmer were able to kill of the five-on-three and ensuing five-on-four Spartan power plays after both Macaulay and Follmer made significant defensive plays resulting in blocked shots. At 17:53 the Spartans pulled Yanakeff and gained the extra attacker which led to a goal by Torey Krug at 18:35 to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Wildcats.
Yanakeff went back into his goal position until 19:00 when the Spartans pulled him for an extra attacker. The Spartans were not able to come up with any shots before the Wildcats battled and swatted the puck that ended up on Phil Fox’s stick in the neutral zone. Fox carried the puck into Spartan territory and scored on the empty net. Phil Fox’s empty net goal came at 19:27 of the third period and was assisted by Wade Epp and Cherniwchan.
The Wildcats ended the game with nine penalties for 18 minutes while the Spartans had seven for 22. On the power play the Wildcats were one-for-two with four shots while the Spartans were one-for-five with three shots.
The Wildcats and Spartans will face off again on Saturday, February 12 at 5:05 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit Plus.