Press Box


MARQUETTE, Mich. â€Ã‚“ Justin Kinnunen notched his firstcareer hat trick on Friday night in the first game of the CCHA FirstRound.  Before the game on Friday,Kinnunen had one goal on the season and that came against the University of Michiganon Dec. 6.  The Wildcats took a 1-0 leadin the best-of-three series with an 8-3 win at the Berry Events Center.  NMU is now 19-16-2 on the year while WMU is15-20-2.

Kinnunen scored his first goal of the game at 5:27 of thefirst period to get the â€Ã‚˜Cats on the board and leading 1-0.  â€Ã‚œHe (Kinnunen) played the kind of game whereyou can have success,â€Ã‚ Walt Kyle, head coach of NMU, said.  â€Ã‚œHis whole line played playoff hockey.â€Ã‚ÃƒÃ‚ƒÃƒ‚‚  Dan Donnette and Peter Micheluttiassisted.  Western would score the nexttwo goals to take the 2-1 lead on goals by Vince Bellissimo at 15:59 of thefirst period and Shaun Rose at 5:13 of the second period.

Chris Gobert tied the game at two-all with his 12thgoal of the season at 6:51 of the second period.  Andrew Contois and John Miller assisted.  Contois would follow that up with a goal ofhis own at 9:15 on the power play to give the â€Ã‚˜Cats the lead for good at3-2.  â€Ã‚œOur goal the whole year was toget home ice for the playoffs,â€Ã‚ Contois said. Ã¢Ã‚€ÃƒÃ‚‚œWe got down 2-1 and came back and played good hockey.â€Ã‚ÃƒÃ‚ƒÃƒ‚‚   JamieMilam and Terry Harrison assisted.

Alan Swanson made it 4-2 with a goal at 17:01 of the secondperiod as Jordan Bianchin and Kevin Gardner assisted.  Kinnunen then would get his second goal of the game at 43 secondsinto the third period to give the â€Ã‚˜Cats the 5-2 advantage.  Michelutti and Geoff Waugh assisted.  The Broncos would cut the lead to 5-3 whenBrent Rumble scored at 11:07 of the third period.  Kinnunen tallied his third goal for the hat trick at 12:30 of thethird period to make it 6-3.  â€Ã‚œI usuallydonâ€Ã‚™t have that much luck,â€Ã‚ Kinnunen said. Ã¢Ã‚€ÃƒÃ‚‚œTonight it was just there for me.â€Ã‚ÃƒÃ‚ƒÃƒ‚‚ Michelutti and Donnette assisted.

The final two goals for the â€Ã‚˜Cats came shorthanded asHarrison would tally one at 19:09 and that was followed up by Jimmy Jacksonâ€Ã‚™sgoal at 19:59 of the third period. Gobert was given the assist on Harrisonâ€Ã‚™s goal while Jacksonâ€Ã‚™s goal wasunassisted.

Craig Kowalski was in front of the net for the â€Ã‚˜Cats onFriday night as he had 19 saves on the night. Scott Foster was in goal for the Broncos as he had 26 saves on thenight.  The â€Ã‚˜Cats were one of two on thepower play while the Broncos were shutout in two attempts on the power play.NMU had 34 shots while WMU had 22 on the night. 

Game two of the best-of-three is set for Saturday night (March15) at the Berry Events Center at 7:05 p.m.


Prepared By
Dave Faiella
Sports Information Director