DETROIT, Mich. Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚“ The Northern Michigan University hockey team was riding a six-game winning streak entering the firstsemifinal game of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Championshipon Friday at Joe Louis Arena and facing the top seed in the tournament theMiami RedHawks.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ At first it seemed that the crowd would be in favor of theWildcats as the noise was coming from the NMU faithful.
NMU was playing at The Joe in the CCHA Championship for thefifth consecutive season and fourth under Walt Kyle.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ The Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats got two goalsin the first period, but the RedHawks scored three in the second and two in thefinal frame for the 5-2 win.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ The Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats will play in the consolation gametomorrow afternoon (March 18) against the loser of the Michigan State-Michigangame.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU is now 22-15-2 on the season.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Miami will take its 26-7-4 recordinto the championship game.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU has yet to advance out of the semifinals infour of the past five years.
NMU scored both of its goals within a little more than twominutes of each other in the first period.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Mike Santorelli gave the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats theearly 1-0 lead at 14:14 of the first frame for his 15th goal of theseason.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Pat Bateman and Nathan Oystrick assisted on the goal.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Bateman thenmade it 2-0 with his 10th goal of the season at 16:56.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ BatemanÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚™sgoal was unassisted.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œI have no problem with the effort our guys put in,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ WaltKyle said.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œWe played a very good hockey game.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Oystrick hit the post andobviously they came back and did a great job.Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚
The second period has been the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats most productive frameof the season.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ But the RedHawks took control of the game in the second 20minutes of play.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Brian Kaufman put Miami on the board with a goal at 2:49.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ryan Jones tied the score at two-all with his 21st goal of theseason at 11:28.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Nathan Davis gave the RedHawks the lead for good (3-2) withhis 20th marker of the season at 17:05.
Nino Musitelli gave the RedHawks a 4-2 advantage with hissixth goal of the campaign at 7:03 of the third period.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Stephen Dennis scoredan empty-net goal with 15 ticks left on the clock for the final margin.
Bill Zaniboni turned away 13 shots for the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ CharlieEffinger picked up the win for the RedHawks with a 19-save performance.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Neither team scored on the power play as NMU was 0-4 and Miami 0-2.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU wascalled for two penalties in the game.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Oystrick was whistled for bothpenalties. Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Bateman summed it up when he said, Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œWe were just motivated.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Wehave six periods to win a championship.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ We came out hard and we came out readyto play.Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ‚Ã‚