MARQUETTE, Mich. Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚“ The Northern Michigan University hockey team will makes its fifth straight trip to Joe Louis Arena for theCCHA Championship thanks to a 3-2 win over the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks on Saturday night.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ This is the Wildcats fourth trip under Walt Kyle.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ The Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats are currently 22-14-2 on the season.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ The Mavericks fall to 20-14-6.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œThey have an opportunity to earn a spot to play for a championship right now,they deserve that,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ Walt Kyle said.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œThey understand they have not doneanything special yet. We hope there are bigger and better things to come.Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ Theseniors have now advanced to The Joe all four years.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ‚Ã‚
After playing a scoreless 20 minutes of hockey NMU scoredthree goals in the second frame and held on to down the Mavericks.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ The secondperiod has been the most successful period for the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats this season.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU hasnow scored 48 of its 114 goals in the second frame.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU has now won six gamesin a row going into the CCHA Championship.
Pat Bateman gave the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats the 1-0 lead with his ninth goalof the season at 1:41 of the period.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Mike Santorelli and Darin Olver assistedon the goal.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Jamie Milam made the count 2-0 on a power-play goal for hiseighth of the season at 5:22.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Nathan Oystrick and Dirk Southern assisted.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ TheÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats third goal of the frame came from Andrew Contois on a short-handed markerat 12:03 for his 15th of the season.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œLucky goal and that time ofthe game it gave us a three-goal lead,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ Contois said.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Southern assisted.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œWegot up by three and we just laid back.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ That is something that we do not liketo do,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ Kyle said.
UNO tried to make the game interesting with two power-playgoals in the third period.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Kaleb Betts scored at 12:05 to cut the NMU lead to3-1.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Alex Nikiforuk made the scored 3-2 with his 13th goal of theseason at 15:21.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ UNO pulled its goaltender with a little over a minute left inthe game, but the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats held on.
The Mavericks had seven power play opportunities for thegame.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU just had three.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ UNO outshot NMU 15-3 in the third period and 30-18for the game.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Bill Zaniboni turned away 28 of UNOÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚™s shots.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Jerad Kaufmannhad 15 saves for the game.
NMU will play on Friday, March 17 at Joe Louis Arena.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Theopponent and time has yet to be determined.