MARQUETTE, Mich. – The only college hockey game in the country on Tuesday (Dec. 4), featured the ever-rowdy U.P. rivalry between the Northern Michigan Wildcats and Michigan Tech Huskies from the Berry Events Center. The Wildcats won 2-1 in front of 3,509 fans, most dressed in purple in honor of Arianna Alioto, a freshman from the NMU soccer team who passed away on Friday.
“It was a big win,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “I think the great show of support from the students and people at the game was great after the tragedy within the university and community."
The Green and Gold scored goals in the first and second period for a two-goal lead before MTU pulled to within one in the third. Officials reviewed four different plays in front of the net in the game.
“We’ve scored early on Tech in the past few years,” Kyle added. “It was important for us because we’ve been offensively challenged this year.”
Junior defenseman CJ Ludwig opened the game’s scoring with a power-play goal 1:29 into the game. He caught a pass from freshman Ryan Aynsley and blasted home the one-timer for his second of the year. Junior forward Stephan Vigier also assisted on the goal.
In the second period, junior forward Erik Higby buried his second of the season as freshman forward Darren Nowick generated a turnover deep in the corner. Higby took the puck, put a move on and flipped it over MTU goaltender Jamie Phillips for the 2-0 lead.
The Huskies finally got on the board 13:26 into the third period on the power play. Brad Stebner took a wrist shot from the blue line that found the back of the net. Assisting on the goal was Walker Hyland and Malcolm Gould.
MTU pressured during the final 20 minutes and even added the extra attacker late. Junior goaltender Jared Coreau stopped 11 shots in the final period.
Each team took seven minor penalties and Tech added a game misconduct. Both teams were also 1-for-6 on the man advantage.
NMU outshot its opponent for only the third time this season, 26-25. Coreau finished with 25 saves while Phillips had 23.
A review was held 42 seconds into the game after the puck found its way into the MTU net. The goal was disallowed. Higby also had a disallowed goal in the second period.
MTU hit the crossbar in the second period and had it reviewed and confirmed of a no goal. Tanner Kero found the back of the net on a play in the second period that was also disallowed.
The two teams meet for the final time of the season on Feb. 12 in Houghton. The game is also on a Tuesday night.
Northern has the weekend off before wrapping up 2012 with another U.P. rivalry at Lake Superior State on Dec. 14-15. MTU travels to Wisconsin this weekend.
Game Notes: NMU has defeated MTU four games in a row…Vigier is now tied with Matt Thurber for the team lead with 12 points…NMU outshot Wisconsin in the season-opening series.
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