MARQUETTE, Mich. – Freshman defenseman Jake Baker scored his first career goal as the game-winner to lead the Northern Michigan hockey team to a 2-1 win over No. 18 Miami University from the Berry Events Center on Friday (Dec. 2) night.
Baker scored with 2:10 left in the third period to give the Wildcats the late lead. He took a blast from the blueline that found its way behind RedHawk goaltender Connor Knapp. Junior Kory Kaunisto and senior forward Tyler Gron picked up the assists.
“I give the guys a ton of credit,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “I’m proud of the effort and thought those guys stepped up and did a great job tonight.”
The ‘Cats played a player short all night as three defensemen sat out with 1-game suspensions. Freshman DJ Vandercook played his first game in the Green and Gold while forwards freshman Ryan Kesti, Kaunisto and sophomore Austin Handley all saw action on the blueline.
NMU (6-6-3, 3-5-3-2 CCHA) got on the board 9:39 into the game when Gron scored his seventh of the season. He put home a rebound after shots by freshman forward Dylan Walchuk and senior forward Justin Florek.
Miami (8-7-2, 4-5-2-1 CCHA) answered few minutes later (11:44) as defenseman Steven Spinell took a shot from the blueline that found its way through traffic and behind NMU sophomore goaltender Jared Coreau.
Neither team scored in the second period. The ‘Cats had two great chances as Florek and junior forward Matt Thurber both found themselves alone with Knapp but weren’t able to score.
Coreau had 25 saves in the game and moves his record to 3-1-1 on the year.
Cody Reichard started in net for Miami but was pulled after the first NMU goal. Reichard finished with two saves and Knapp had 13.
Both teams took four minor penalties for eight minutes.
The two teams meet again at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 3) to wrap-up the CCHA series.
Game Notes: Tyler Gron has 38 career goals…NMU is unbeaten in 8-of-9 games at the Berry Events Center… Friday’s game will be rebroadcast at 8 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 7) on NMU Public TV13.
# # # NMU # # #