SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Sophomore forward Stephan Vigier scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season to give the Northern Michigan University hockey team a 2-1 win over No. 15 Lake Superior State on Friday (Dec. 9) from Taffy Abel Arena. The win extended the Wildcats winning streak to four games with three of them over a top 20 opponent.
“I was happy with how we played being short a couple guys,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “They’re a good team; they have a ton of talent and are very well coached. I was proud of our guys and we didn’t lose our composure after losing the lead and that’s a big thing.”
Vigier chipped home a rebound after a shot from freshman Dylan Walchuk in front of the LSSU net. The ‘Cats held the puck in the zone as Vigier handled it in the corner before getting it out front. It was Walchuk’s sixth assist of the season and sophomore defenseman Austin Handley picked up his first assist of the season on the game-winner.
“Walchuk came around the net and put it on net and it came out so I wacked it in,” Vigier said. “We were patient and waited for our chance and were lucky to get a goal. I was glad to see it go in.”
NMU is now 8-6-3 overall and 5-5-3-2 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The 'Cats moved into a fifth-place tie with LSSU in the conference standings.
LSSU (10-7-2, 6-6-1-1 CCHA) tied the game at 4:36 in the third as Fred Cassiani caught a pass in front of NMU sophomore goaltender Jared Coreau and one-timed it into the net. Assists went to Domenic Monardo and Andrew Perrault.
Junior defenseman Scott Macaulay scored his first of the season on a quick shot from inside the circle to the right of Laker goaltender Kevin Kapalka to give NMU the lead 9:00 into the first period. It was Macaulay’s second goal of his career. Junior forward Matt Thurber picked up his team-leading ninth assist and redshirt freshman Reed Seckel picked up his fourth assist.
“It’s always important to get an early start especially on the road. Every goal counts and it was a critical point in the game,” Kyle said about Macaulay’s goal.
NMU took three penalties for six minutes and the Lakers took two penalties for four minutes. Neither team capitalized on the man advantage.
Coreau made a season-high 38 saves in net for the ‘Cats and is now 4-1-1 on the season. Kapalka had 17 saves for the Lakers.
It was the Lakers third loss in a row after getting swept at Ohio State last weekend.
The Lakers wore pink jerseys for the fourth annual Pink in the Rink at Taffy Abel Arena this weekend.
The game was first of four games in this season’s series. Each year, the teams battle for the Father Cappo Cup. The team with the most goals in the series receives the cup.
The two teams meet at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 10).
“It’s huge win to make it four in a row and now we’re tied with them in the standings.” Vigier added. “Tomorrow’s another big game.”
Game Notes: Macaulay has 27 assists in his career…Vigier now has 12 career goals…Vigier is tied with Justin Florek with nine goals and Thurber is tied with Kyle Follmer with nine assists.…Attendance was 2,594… CCHA Offensive Player of the Week Tyler Gron and Andrew Cherniwchan were out of the lineup with injuries.
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