’Cats drop Finlandia, gear up for road

Katie Bultman

The men’s club hockey team was handed two season wins on Friday, Nov.30 and Saturday, Dec. 1 when the University of Minnesota-Mankato forfeited the weekend series.

NMU bounced back with a game on Sunday, Dec. 2 against Finlandia, where the ’Cats picked up their third win of the weekend. The game got off to a slow start, but the speed picked up after the Wildcats chipped in two goals within minutes of one another.

The Wildcats scored in the first three minutes of the game when sophomore forward Wolff Belanger sent an assist to freshman forward Anders Carlson for goal number one at 18:40. A little over a minute later, Belanger tallied a second assist, this time to senior forward Brad Gicopoulos, for the second Wildcat goal.

Finlandia did not respond until 9:13 in the first period.As a result, NMU took a 2-1 lead going into period two.

In the second period, NMU and Finlandia picked up 11 penalties between the two teams.

Head coach Carl Trosien described how the game pace was faster in the second period after the play became more physical.

“It was an aggressive game,” Trosien said. “Part of that was that we lost our discipline in the second period, and we need to do a better job of not taking penalties.”

In addition to the penalties, the scores increased on both sides of the floor, as well. The Wildcats put in two goals within 35 seconds of each other to start the scoring run. Afterwards, Finlandia stepped up and scored two at the end of the period.

Going into the third period, NMU was up 4-3.

Freshman goaltender Neil Flavin described how the game went back and forth before the final buzzer.

“They made a push in the second period and our team turned back and got the win,” Flavin said.

In the final period, there were seven penalties between the two teams, which aided the ‘Cats in a powerplay goal at 19:31 when Carlson assisted Belanger for the first goal of the period. Finlandia came back with 10:04 left in the period to score a powerplay goal.

The Wildcats reacted when sophomore forward Dillon Montalvo scored at 8:43, but the end of the game left fans on the edge of their seats when both teams attempted several goals before Finlandia chipped one in with 0:43 left in the game.

However, the ’Cats held their ground in the time crunch to defend the goal for the final win.

Flavin earned the win as goalie in a 6-5 victory over Finlandia.

Senior defenseman Shane Feeliery said the game had been closer than the ’Cats expected, and the team felt overconfident prior to taking the ice.

“I think we came into the game thinking we were going to destroy them,” Feeliery said. “We came in too cocky.”

The Wildcats picked up three good wins over the weekend. They will be back on the ice at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 in Madison, Wis. as they hit the road to meet the University of Wisconsin-Madison.