MARQUETTE, Mich. – The No. 20 Northern Michigan hockey team earned a Central Collegiate Hockey series split with the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday (Nov. 19) night from the Berry Events Center, winning 4-2. The Wildcats snapped a 3-game losing streak and the Spartans 5-game winning streak and are now 5-6-3 overall and 2-5-3 in the CCHA.
Junior forward Brian Nugent scored the game-winning goal with less than five minutes to go in the third period. It was his first of the season as he streaked up the left side and buried it top-shelf over MSU goaltender Will Yanakeff. Sophomore defenseman Wade Epp and junior defenseman Scott Macaulay picked up the assists.
MSU (7-5-0, 4-4-0-0 CCHA) emptied its net for the extra attacker late in the third and had a 2-man advantage after an NMU penalty. Sophomore goaltender Jared Coreau kept the puck of out the net, stopping nine shots in the final period.
“I though we played well,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “They are a good team. I was really happy because Brian Nugent is one of the hardest working guys that we have day in and day out.”
A pushing match broke out after the final whistle, resulting in a game misconduct and three game disqualifications for the ‘Cats. The Spartans received two game disqualifications after a long deliberation by the officials.
Senior captain Justin Florek opened the game’s scoring with 11 seconds left in the second period when he scored on the power-play. Junior defenseman Kyle Follmer and freshman defenseman Mitch Jones picked up the assists on Florek’s team-leading seventh goal of the season.
Matt Berry scored the equalizer at 12:21 of the third with assists going to Kevin Walrod and Brett Perlini.
Northern finished 1-for-3 on the power-play while the Spartans were 0-for-4.
The ‘Cats outshot the Spartans 30-21. It was the first time this season that NMU outshot its opponent in back-to-back games.
Coreau made 20 saves in net and is now 2-1-1 on the season. Yanakeff (5-2-0) had 28 saves for the Spartans
NMU returns to the Berry Events Center, where they are 4-1-3, after a Thanksgiving break, hosting the Miami Redhawks on Dec. 2-3.
Game Notes: Michigan State won 4-2 on Friday (Nov. 18)…Disqualified players must serve a 1-game suspension…Fox Sports Detroit Plus aired the game live…Nugent now has six career goals…NMU has won six of the last eight meetings against Michigan State…The two teams meet again Jan. 13-14 in East Lansing.
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