MADISON, Wis. – The Northern Michigan hockey team opened its 36th season of hockey with a 3-2 overtime win over the No. 17 ranked Wisconsin Badgers. The Wildcats held a 2-0 lead heading into the third period but the Badgers evened the score before the end of regulation. Sophomore forward Reed Seckel buried his first goal in a green and gold jersey for the game-winner with three seconds left in the 5-minute overtime.
NMU (1-0-0, 0-0-0 CCHA) opened up the scoring early in the second period when junior forward Kory Kaunisto buried his second goal of his career 51 seconds after intermission. Junior forward Matt Thurber and sophomore defenseman Wade Epp picked up the assists.
Senior forward Justin Florek added to the lead late in the period (18:33). He was assisted on his 36th career goal by freshman forward Dylan Walchuk and junior defenseman Kyle Follmer.
Wisconsin (0-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) got on the board 12 minutes into the third when Joe Faust banged one home past senior goaltender Reid Ellingson.
Penalties were a factor as the ‘Cats ended up in the box 11 times, including five 2:00 minors in the third period alone. The Badgers scored their final goal on the power-play with less than two minutes left in regulation (18:43) as Joseph LaBate buried the goal.
Thurber picked up his second assist of the game, on the Seckel game-winner, against his former team and junior defenseman Scott Macualay got the other helper.
Ellingson finished the game with 27 saves. He had 20 saves in the first two period combined. Landon Peterson had 16 saves for the Badgers.
The Badgers outshot NMU 29-19. The ‘Cats were 0-for-3 on the power-play.
NMU has now won three games in row at the Kohl Center after winning a pair of games in January 2009. The two teams meet again on Saturday (Oct. 8) at 8 p.m. The game can be heard on 100.3 FM “The Point” in Marquette.
Game Notes: Justin Florek now has three goals and an assist in three games at Wisconsin…Attendance was 9,444 at the Kohl Center…Walt Kyle is 5-4 in his first game of the season...Seckel is coming off a season-ending injury in 2010-11...Thurber played his first game in a Wildcat uniform after transferring from Wisconsin...Thurber appeared in 43 games with the Badgers and had 11 points, during two seasons.
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