ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The No. 20-ranked Northern Michigan hockey team came back from a one-goal deficit twice on Saturday (Feb. 18) night from Yost Ice Arena but the No. 5-ranked University of Michigan scored the game-winning goal 1:20 into overtime for the 3-2 victory and the series sweep.
“It stings to not come away with points,” senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan said. “We battled hard and we know that we can play with anybody. That’s the way it goes and we’ll learn from it and get better going into the playoffs.”
With the loss, NMU is now 14-12-6 overall and 9-11-6-3 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The ‘Cats finished 1-2-1 against the Wolverines this season.
Cherniwchan scored a highlight reel goal to tie the game at two early in the third period. Senior forward Justin Florek picked up his second point of the night on the assist.
“I tried to make a move on the first guy and I was expecting to get hit and it just opened up for me,” Cherniwchan said. “I know Hunwick likes to go down so I went up.”
In the overtime, Michigan (20-10-4, 14-8-4-1 CCHA) forward AJ Treais scored the game-winning goal with a one-timer from middle of the circle to the right of NMU senior goaltender Reid Ellingson.
“Ellingson played a good game,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “He hasn’t won since Dec. 3 and it’s got to be tough for him. He was the difference in the game early and he was outstanding.”
The Wolverines got on the board first in the second after a scoreless first period. Luke Glendening scored his eighth of the season from Lee Moffie at 6:58.
Florek tied the game at one at 17:46 of the second with a one-timer from sophomore forward Stephan Vigier and Cherniwchan. It was Florek’s team-leading 16th goal of the season.
“I thought Cherniwchan was good,” Kyle added. “His line was very good tonight. They were dangerous, they were strong and that goal was a big-time highlight reel goal.”
Michigan added a power-play goal late in the second at 18:32 when Jon Merrill scored his first of the season on a shot from the blueline.
Ellingson finished with 32 saves on the night and is 4-6-4 on the season. Hunwick (20-9-3) had 26 saves for Michigan.
“I like the way we’re playing,” said Kyle. “We have to play like that every night. They’re good and we can play with them. We just need to get it done.”
The Wildcats wrap up the regular season next weekend from the Berry Events Center, hosting Lake Superior State.
Game Notes: Michigan now leads the all-time series 37-19-6 and is 16-11-2 in Ann Arbor…It was the 10th sellout at Yost Ice Arena and seventh in a row...NMU finished 6-10-1 on the road this season…Florek had nine goals away from Marquette.
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