January 3, 2004

'Cats Find A Way To Defeat The Spartans


 

EAST LANSING, Mich.â€Â“ What a difference 24 hours can make. Friday night the â€Â˜Cats suffered a 7-2 defeat to the Michigan StateSpartans, but on Saturday night it was a different story as NMU won a 6-5 gamethat went into overtime.  Alex Sawrukscored the game-winning goal with less than 25 seconds left in the overtimeperiod for the win. 

The â€Â˜Cats are now 9-8-1 overall and 7-7-0 in the CCHA.  MSU is 11-10-1 and 8-5-1in the conference. 

So, how did the â€Â˜Cats get to thewin?  Michigan State struck first on ashorthanded goal at the 2:16 mark of the first period.  Kevin Gardner would score the first of histwo goals on the night on the power play at 16:42to tie the game at one-all.  Geoff Waughand Alan Swanson assisted on the goal. The Spartans would score once again in the period to take the 2-1 leadafter the first 20 minutes of play.

The second period saw the â€Â˜Catsscore two goals in a span of a little over a minute.  Dirk Southern scored a power-play goal forhis sixth of the season at 11:20 totie the game at two-all.  Jamie Milam andNathan Oystrick assisted on the goal. Alan Swanson would give the â€Â˜Cats the 3-2 lead with his own power-playgoal at 12:31, which was his fourthgoal of the season.  Milam and JohnMiller assisted.

The Spartans answered with twogoals of their own in quick fashion. They scored at 16:47 and 17:09 of the period to take the 4-3 lead aftertwo periods.

MSU went up 5-3 when A.J. Thelenscored a power-play goal at 4:48 ofthe third period.  NMU was not done asthey scored two goals to send the game into OT. Rob Lehtinen scored his second goal of the season at 11:26 to get the â€Â˜Cats within one at 5-4.  Dave Bonk and Milam assisted on thegoal.  With less than a minute left inregulation, the â€Â˜Cats pulled Craig Kowlaski in favor of the extraattacker.  The plan worked as KevinGardner tied the game at five-all with his second goal of the night and fourthof the season at 19:57 of theperiod.  Dirk Southern and Geoff Waughassisted.

That set-up the extra period as theâ€Â˜Cats only had two shots on goal in the overtime period.  But the second shot was the one that countedas Sawruk took a rebound from Gardnerâ€Â™sshot at 4:35 for the win.  Sawruk was named the first star of thegame. 

NMU ended the game with 36 shots toMSUâ€Â™s 23.  It was only the second timethis season that the â€Â˜Cats out-shot an opponent in a game.

NMU scored three power-play goalsin seven opportunities on Saturday night as the â€Â˜Cats penalty kill unit heldMSU to one power-play goal in five chances.  Kowalski registered 18 saves on the night.

The â€Â˜Cats are back home this comingweekend (January 9-10) when they face Miami.

 

 



Prepared By
Dave Faiella
Sports Information Director
906-227-1013