MARQUETTE, Mich. – The No. 19-ranked Northern Michigan hockey team battled to a 5-5 tie with No. 6 Ferris State on Friday (Feb. 3) from the Berry Events Center. Junior forward Matt Thurber got the Wildcats the extra Central Collegiate Hockey Association point with his shootout goal.
NMU is unbeaten in 13-of-14 games at home this season and is now 12-9-6 overall and 7-8-6-3 in the CCHA for 30 points. The ‘Cats currently sit in ninth-place in the league.
"Ferris is a really good team and they hang in there,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “They have the ability to take advantage of your mistakes and I thought we gave them some of those opportunities.”
Senior forward Tyler Gron had his ninth multiple-point game of the season, pumping in two goals along with two assists. Senior forwrd Andrew Cherniwchan and junior defenseman Kyle Follmer each had two assists on the night.
Sophomore defenseman CJ Ludwig scored his first career goal in the third period while sophomore Stephan Vigier and redshirt freshman Reed Seckel also scored.
Gron’s goals came in a span of 1:22 in the second period. His first was a power-play goal when he took a shot from the side of the net. The puck deflected off the Ferris goaltender and in at 14:33. The second was a highlight reel goal as he went 1-on-1, beating his defender and finding the back of the net at 16:55. Gron is now tied for the team lead with 14 goals.
Vigier opened the game’s scoring when he put home a rebound off a shot by senior forward Justin Florek. Senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan also assisted on Vigier’s fifth of the season.
Ferris (17-8-4, 11-6-4-1 CCHA) scored two power-play goals in the first period to tie and then take a 2-1 lead. Kyle Bonis (4:23) scored his 13th of the season and Garrett Thompson (7:29) added his seventh.
Seckel tied it at two (12:58) when he whacked home a loose puck in the crease. After a lengthy official’s review the goal was confirmed. Assists went to Gron and freshman defenseman Jake Baker on Seckel’s sixth of the season.
The Bulldogs again took the lead 1:52 into the second on a goal by Eric Alexander (5). He found himself alone in front of senior goaltender Reid Ellingson and put a move on, finding the back of the net.
Chad Billins tied it at four after Gron’s two goals with his fifth of the season 2:45 into the third period.
Ludwig gave the ‘Cats the lead with 5:18 when he caught a pass, streaking down the left side of FSU goaltender Tyler Nelson. He buried on the short-side with assists from Thurber and Gron.
Aaron Schmit evened the game at five 10:13 into the third period with his fourth of the season on an unassisted breakaway.
Northern managed five shots in the extra session but couldn’t capitalize. Thurber was the first shooter in the shootout, beating Nelson on the glove-side. Gron and Vigier missed their chances.
Bulldogs shooters Derek Graham, Billins and Kyle Bonis were stopped by Ellingson. Ellingson has stopped 11-of-12 opponent shootout chances this season.
NMU outshot FSU 31-27 and were 1-for-4 on the man advantage. The Bulldogs were 3-for-5 on the power-play.
Ellingson had 22 saves in his first start since Jan. 13. He is 4-5-4 on the season. Nelson (13-4-2) had 26 saves for the Bulldogs.
The two teams meet for the series finale at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 4) from the Berry Events Center.
Game Notes: It was NMU’s eighth overtime game of the season…The ‘Cats are 1-1-6-3 in the extra session…There has only been one score in NMU's six shootouts this season…It was Thurber’s first shootout chance of the season…NMU is 1-2-4-3 against top 10 teams this season.
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