MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan hockey team scored a goal in each period and senior goaltender Devan Hartigan stopped 34 shots as the Wildcats defeated the Russian Red Stars 3-2 in exhibition hockey from the Berry Events Center on Friday (Dec. 30) evening.
“Devan is a Division I goaltender who has happened to play behind some real good guys in his career,” said NMU coach Walt Kyle. “I’m real happy for him and real proud of him. He played really, really well tonight.”
Sophomore defenseman CJ Ludwig got the ‘Cats on the board at 16:45 of the first period. He caught a pass from junior forward Matt Thurber and got around his defender, blasting the puck into the top corner of the net. Sophomore defenseman Austin Handley picked up the secondary assist.
Freshman forward Ryan Daugherty added to the lead at 6:24 of the second period. Assists on the second NMU goal went to sophomore defenseman Wade Epp and sophomore forward Erik Higby.
Higby picked up a goal of his own 3:41 into the third when he tipped in a shot by junior defenseman Kyle Follmer. Junior forward Kory Kaunisto also assisted on the goal.
The Red Stars added two goals in the third to cut the lead to one. Roman Lyubimov and Grigory Aksyutov scored. Each player assisted on the other’s goal and Artem Gareev also picked assists on the two goals.
The Russians played puck control hockey all night and Hartigan stood tall. He hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since the 2008-09 season.
NMU took six penalties for 12 minutes in the box and were 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Red Stars had three penalties for 14 minutes and were 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
Rafael Khakimov had 21 saves between the pipes for the Russians.
The ‘Cats get back to Central Collegiate Hockey Association action next weekend (Jan. 6-7) when they host Alaska-Fairbanks at 7:35 p.m. from the Berry Events Center.
The Red Stars continue their U.S. tour with games at Notre Dame and Mass.-Lowell next week. The team is now 2-4 playing in America.
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