MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan hockey team used a four-goal third period to propel itself to its 10th win of the season on Saturday (Jan. 7) night from the Berry Events Center, defeating the University of Alaska Fairbanks, 7-3. Senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan and junior forward Matt Thurber each had three-goal hat-tricks.
With the win, NMU is now 10-7-4 overall and 6-6-4-2 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The Wildcats have lost only once at home in 13 games.
Northern led 3-2 heading into the third period. Freshman defenseman Mitch Jones scored his third of the season to make it 4-2 at 5:33. Junior forward Kory Kaunisto and freshman defenseman Jake Baker assisted on the goal.
Thurber scored his second of the game at 10:07 to make it a three-goal lead (5-2). Thurber redirected a shot by redshirt freshman Reed Seckel. Junior forward Tyler Gron got his second assist on the goal.
Alaska (7-10-3, 4-9-3-1 CCHA) scored an unassisted goal by Michael Quinn to pull within two.
Thurber scored his hat-trick goal with an unassisted, shorthanded, empty net goal at 18:20. He has five goals on the season. Cherniwchan scored his hat-trick goal at 19:54 with sophomore forward Stephan Vigier picking up his third assist of the game. Cherniwchan has five goals on the season and 30 for his career.
Cherniwchan opened the game’s scoring right after NMU started a five-minute power-play. Assists went to senior forward Justin Florek and Vigier on the only goal of the first at 15:59.
Alaska evened the score at one with a power-play goal by Aaron Gens at 2:05 of the second. Carlo Finucci and Cody Kunyk assisted on the goal.
Thurber’s first goal of the game came after a Nanook turnover deep in their own zone. Gron found an open Thurber streaking to the net.
Cherniwchan’s second goal came on the power-play after some crisp passing from Florek and Vigier at 15:17 in the second.
Cody Kunyk picked up his second point of the game with Alaska’s second goal of the game at 16:25 in the second, on the power-play.
Sophomore forward Jared Coreau got his sixth win of the season (6-2-1), stopping 37 shots in net. Scott Greenham (6-9-3) had 24 saves for Alaska.
NMU was 2-for-6 on the power-play after eight Alaska (8-27) penalties. UAF was 2-for-7 on the man advantage after nine (9-18) Wildcat penalties.
Northern hits the road next weekend (Jan. 13-14) for a CCHA series at Michigan State. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. from Munn Ice Arena both nights. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit.
Game Notes: The two teams tied 2-2 on Friday night…Alaska won the shootout 1-0 in three rounds…The last time NMU had two player score three goals in one game was Feb. 28, 1992 against Denver…NMU has only four home games remaining…Justin Florek has 99 career points…The last time NMU lost to Alaska was Nov. 30, 2007.
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