Dahlstrom return completes Wildcat goalie trio

AnnMarie Kent

A home match-up against the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks brought the return of senior goalie Mathias Dahlstrom.

The Wildcats took to the ice on Friday, Jan. 15 to take on the Nanooks.re-IMG_3800

The ’Cats were down 2-1 halfway through the third period. The only goal for NMU made by Shane Sooth on a power play during the second period.

Senior defenseman Barrett Kaib forced a fourth frame when he slipped the puck past freshman goalie for the Nanooks, Jesse Jenks.

In the final two minutes of overtime, senior forward for Alaska Nolan Huysmans netted the puck and brought Alaska to a 3-2 win over NMU.

The Wildcats took eight penalties on Friday, leaving Alaska to spend 16 minutes on power plays.

“I thought we worked hard,”  head coach Walt Kyle said. “Part of working hard is being smart, and I don’t think we were
very smart.”

NMU returned to the ice on Saturday, Jan. 16, finishing the game with 5-3 win over the

Dahlstrom defended the net for the first time since the Friday, Oct. 16 game against Lake Superior State University at the Berry Events Center. His appearance on the ice against the Nanooks is his second this season. Dahlstrom made 35 saves for the Wildcats.

With the score tied up going into the third frame, the Nanooks took a one-point lead after sophomore defenseman Justin Woods sank the puck into the net 49 seconds into the period. The Wildcats pulled ahead when three defensemen found the back of the net by the end of the third period.

With the return of Dahlstrom, it is unclear who will remain the front-runner goaltender for the Wildcats. The two freshman goalies have proved their worth to the team assistant coach John
Kyle said.

“Right now, arguably, we probably have the best goalies in the country,” John Kyle said. “I can’t imagine a team not wanting to have just one of these guys.”

Freshman goalie Atte Tolvanen has started 19 of the 20 games played for the ’Cats and has received awards for his playing from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

While freshman goalie Mathias Israelsson has played only three games for the Wildcats, he posted 24 saves in the Great Lakes Invitational win against Michigan State University and has 40 saves in the loss to the University of Minnesota-Mankato.

John Kyle isn’t concerned about making a decision regarding who will be the first-string goalie.

“What’s going to happen as we move along towards the end of the season and the playoffs, and stuff like that, somebody’s going to raise to the top, and somebody’s going to be the backup,”  John Kyle said. “I don’t think that’s a decision we’re going to have to make. I think they’re going to show that day in and day out in practice.”

John Kyle said the coaching staff knows Dahlstrom and how he plays which is why they were glad to have him back on the ice.

“Everybody on the team, the staff, everybody was glad to have [Dahlstrom] because it’s been a long, long road for him,” John Kyle said. “He’s 100 percent right now. To see him come back and play that well, everybody’s really happy for him.”

Dahlstrom said he’s feeling back to normal, and he’s excited to be back playing with his teammates.

“I’m always nervous to get back in and play the first game again,”  Dahlstrom said. “But I’m happy I got that win.”

Dahlstrom said he’s been healthy for about a month now and has been getting as much practice time in as possible before getting back into game play.

“Even if I don’t compete a lot with another goalie, I still believe I go out there every day and try and be better,” Dahlstrom said.