MARQUETTE, Mich. – The No. 17 Northern Michigan hockey team defeated the top in the country, the University of Michigan, on Friday (Oct. 21). Five different Wildcat scored as NMU defeated the Wolverines 5-3 in front of a rowdy Berry Events Center crowd.
Three Wildcats scored their first career NMU (4-1-0, 1-0-0 CCHA) goals and senior forward Tyler Gron scored the game-winner late in the third period (17:36). Senior forward Justin Florek sealed the victory with an empty-netter with 25 ticks left.
After a fairly calm and evenly played first period, the intensity picked up in the second. NMU senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan and Michigan forward Luke Moffatt each got five-minute fighting majors and game disqualifications after Cherniwchan went sliding into Wolverine goaltender Shawn Hunwick and a pushing match broke out. Hunwick received a five-minute major for contact to the head and game misconduct while NMU sophomore forward Reed Seckel got a double major for boarding.
Freshman forward Dylan Walchuk scored his first goal as a Wildcat on the ensuing power-play to give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead at 15:23 left in the second. Assists went to Florek and junior defenseman Kyle Follmer.
Michigan (4-1-0, 0-1-0 CCHA) answered less than a minute later on a goal by Lindsay Sparks. David Wohlberg picked up the assist.
NMU retook the lead when junior forward Matt Thurber buried his first goal as a Wildcat before the end of the second. The assist went to junior forward Kory Kaunisto.
Freshman defenseman Mitch Jones also scored his first career goal tonight as he opened the third period with a blast from the point. Thurber won the draw and sophomore defenseman CJ Ludwig passed it across to Jones for the assist.
The Wolverines answered the bell, scoring two quick goals to tie the score at three as Zach Hyman and Travis Lynch scored even strength goals.
Gron’s game-winning goal came from a shot on the right side of the ice. He put it top shelf glove side over Michigan goaltender Adam Janecyk. The assists went to sophomore defenseman Wade Epp and Florek.
Florek picked up his third point on the night with the empty net goal at the end with Epp picking up his second assist.
Senior goaltender Reid Ellingson stopped 24 shots and is now 3-0 between the pipes.
Janecyk came in relief of Hunwick after his major penalty. He allowed four goals and had 10 saves in 28 minutes of action. Hunwick had 17 saves in 30 minutes between the pipes.
NMU took 13 penalties for 37 minutes and Michigan had 11 penalties for 44 minutes. The ‘Cats were 1-for-7 on the power-play while the Wolverines were 0-for-7.
The two teams faceoff at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 22) for the second game of the conference-opening series.
Game Notes: Follmer has a point in all five games this season…Florek has a point in 4-of-5 games…Ellingson is 3-0 and has started all Friday night games…The three stars were Florek (1), Sparks (2) and Thurber (3)…Attendance was 3,767 at the Berry Events Center.
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