Marquette, MI – It’s all a matter of perspective. On this night, a 3-3 overtime tie with the #16 Northern Michigan Wildcats felt like a loss. To the Wildcats it was a win. Down for the count and trailing 3-0 late in the third period, the Wildcats were gifted two five-minute major penalties with slightly over eight minutes remaining in regulation and rallied for three goals to salvage a 3-3 tie with the Huskies at the Berry Events Center on Friday, November 8.
“The morale in the locker room is not good. We got outworked today” Vincent de May who scored one power play goal told the Mining Journal. “We really got outworked. We’ve got to go back to the drawing boards tomorrow and we’ve got to figure ourselves out. Because if we didn’t have those majors, we didn’t have many scoring chances. We’ll figure it out and we’ll pull together. We just have to outwork them tomorrow. We’ve got to have a better morale on the bench, especially when you go down 3-0. We’re down on the bench and you can feel it. It’s energy. We just have to generate a little bit more energy for tomorrow and I think we’ll be good.”
It was an aggressive beginning to the game by the Huskies who have had two consecutive flat starts on Friday against Northeastern and Princeton. They utilized every bit of the Olympic-sized sheet of ice, seemed a step faster than the Wildcats and attempted to throw a lot of rubber at NMU starter John Hawthorne attempting 21 shots on goal. They outshot NMU 6-3 and clearly had the first period advantage despite a scoreless 20 minutes of play.
The Huskies found themselves at a disadvantage early in period two with Easton Brodzinski whistled for roughing and the Wildcats on the advantage for two minutes. However, the Huskies turned tables with a short-handed goal by Nick Poehling to forge a 1-0 lead. The Huskies actually scored twice but it was the first puck in the net by Poehling that counted after a review. With Ahcan and Poehling attacking the NMU zone, Ahcan dropped the puck back to Poehling who unloaded a shot from the left circle that beat Hawthorne clean for Poehling’s second goal of the season. Next it was Will Hammer who added to the SCSU lead with his 1st goal of the year. Jake Wahlin carried the puck from below the goal line to the goalmouth but lost the handle on the puck and it slid back to Hammer who punched it past Hawthorne for a 2-0 SCSU advantage. With the Huskies continuing to dominate play, they lost some momentum after an aggressive hit along the sidewall by Jack Poehling on Ty Readman at 8:17 shattered the plexi-glass causing an extended stoppage in play. It wasn’t until 18:56 of the period that the Huskies extended their lead by three goals on Jack Poehling’s 2nd goal of the season with assist to Sam Hentges. The Huskies won the faceoff to the left of Hawthorne and Poehling charged the goal and backhanded the puck past him for a three-goal lead. In another strong period, the Huskies outshot NMU 11-5.
The Huskies were clearly in control of the contest with Hrenak looking to secure a shutout until the bottom fell out with 8:51 left in regulation. First, Jack Poehling was accessed a five minute major and game misconduct for a boarding call after a hit to Joseph Nardi. Then, 17 seconds later, Jack Ahcan was given a five-minute major for a boarding call – again on Nardi. With a five on three for 4:43 the Wildcats were given the opportunity to score as many times as they could and they picked up the first one just six seconds after the five on three started. Vincent de May ripped a shot from the left point to narrow the margin to 3-1. Less than two minutes later at 13:08 they struck again, this time Andre Ghantous converted a bad angle shot from the right side of the goal to narrow the SCSU lead to 3-2. They then tied the game at 14:34 with another goal by Ghantous. This time he swiped the puck past Hrenak with a backhand shot in a scramble to complete the unlikely comeback – courtesy the two five-minute majors. With the benefit of the majors, the Wildcats outshot the Huskies 14 to 4 in the period.
A five-minute overtime period yielded several chances by both teams but they ultimately settled for a 3-3 tie. SCSU outshot NMU 2-1 in the overtime session.
NMU coach Grant Potulny was not happy with their performance he told the Journal “We got beat in every aspect of the game tonight. We got five players make three plays. That was the only reason that we got out of here with a tie. It seemed like the game meant more to them tonight than it did to us. I’m not trying to be negative. I’m not, but it’s just a fact of life that you can’t continue down this journey the way we have been and expect to just magically score every night. It’s just not going to happen. To be honest, had that glass not broke, it might’ve been more than it was. There’s a lot of things that fell our way tonight that probably will never happen again. We took advantage of it, but it was a poor performance by us.”
Northern Michigan outshot SCSU 25 to 24 for the game. David Hrenak stopped 22 of 25 shots on goal while John Hawthorne stopped 21 of 24. The Huskies were 0 for 3 on the man-advantage while NMU was 3 for 7 with all goals scored on the five on three advantage. For the game,both the Huskies and Wildcats blocked 14 shots on goal. The Huskies were dominated in the faceoff circle winning 23 and losing 33.