MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey continued its 2013 unbeaten streak on Friday (Jan. 18) night with a 4-2 victory over the Ohio State University Buckeyes at the Berry Events Center. NMU is 3-0-1 in the New Year and is now 10-10-4 overall and 4-9-4-1 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Wildcats scored two goals in each of the final two periods. Senior forward Kory Kaunisto and junior forward Erik Higby both scored goals for the second game in a row.
“It’s a good win and we’re happy to get it,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “They’re a team that handled us pretty easily down there in two games and I think that we had an opportunity to play well and show that we’re a little better team now.”
After a scoreless first period, Kaunisto snuck a puck past OSU goaltender Brady Hjelle 11:19 into the second. He came around the net and wristed a quick shot on the short side. Assisting on the play was junior defenseman Wade Epp and freshman forward Cohen Adair.
“We had good play throughout all four lines,” said Kyle. “The scoring was spread out. Our penalty killers did a good job. Some guys got better as the game went on.”
Higby made it 2-0 four minutes later (15:11) as he shot one over Hjelle’s shoulder into the top corner. Senior forward Matt Thurber and Adair assisted on Higby’s fourth of the year.
The Buckeyes scored on a nice breakout play as Anthony Greco buried his second of the season from Ryan Dzingel and Sam Jardine.
Freshman forward Darren Nowick scored his fourth of the season and second in three games 3:48 into the third period for a 3-1 lead. Assisting on the goal was junior defenseman CJ Ludwig.
OSU (8-10-5, 7-5-3-1 CCHA) quickly answered 44 seconds later on a goal by Tanner Fritz from Jardine.
Thurber scored his second of the year after the Buckeyes emptied the net and added the extra attacker. Sophomore defenseman Mitch Jones assisted on the goal.
For the first time this season, an NMU opponent didn’t take a penalty. OSU was 0-for-3 on its power play chances after three NMU penalties, including a five-minute major.
For only the fourth time this season, Northern outshot its opponent (32-27). Junior goaltender Jared Coreau had 25 saves in the victory. Hjelle finished with 28 saves.
The two teams wrap up the CCHA series on Saturday with the puck dropping at 7:35 p.m. All fans are invited to the 4th Period Party at the Ramada Inn following the game.
“We know we’ll be challenged tomorrow night,” Kyle added. “They’re going to come at us hard and we have to be ready.”
Game Notes: The win snapped a four-game losing streak to OSU…The last win was Oct. 30, 2010 in Marquette…Thurber’s goal was the second empty net goal for NMU this season…Kaunisto has seven career goals…Higby has 11 career goals…Thurber has 13 career goals.
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