Hockey settles for weekend split


Photo by Neil Flavin

Alex Skinner

In heartbreaking fashion on Saturday night, the Northern Michigan University Men’s Ice Hockey team dropped a literal last second contest to the Bemidji State University (BSU) Beavers.

With 1:40 to go in the final period with the game knotted at two goals apiece, it appeared that senior forward Troy Loggins had netted the go-ahead goal to seal the victory for the Wildcats. Senior defenseman James Vermeulen danced his way through to the slot but was unable to get a shot off. The puck bounced around for what seemed like an eternity before Loggins picked up the loose puck up and fired it into the back of the net.

That wasn’t the case.

The officials gathered at center ice to review the play only to conclude that Vermeulen interfered with Bemidji State goaltender Zach Driscoll enough to prevent him from making a play on the puck. The score would remain frozen at 1-1.

With 0.3 seconds remaining, BSU forward Aaron Miller scored the game-clinching goal on a breakaway opportunity to solidify the game for the Beavers. The Wildcats and Beavers would split the weekend series with one win each.

“It’s disappointing for our athletes,” head coach Grant Potulny said. “I’m very disappointed in the call by the officials at the end of the game.”

Junior forward Darien Craighead scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season with the first period winding down to NMU on the board first.

Miller evened the game up in the second period before later scoring the game winner.

The loss drops the Wildcats record to 2-4 on the season and 1-1 in the WCHA conference after grabbing the victory over the Beavers the previous night.

Next up for the Wildcats is a road trip to face off against the No. 9 ranked Bowling Green University Falcons. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since a thrilling WCHA tournament semifinal matchup last season that saw the Wildcats advance after beating the Falcons 2-1 after a three-game series.

The Falcons are coming off of a strong series last weekend against the then No. 4 ranked Ohio State University, winning 8-2 on Friday night and a 2-2 tie on Saturday.

The Falcons swept three WCHA honors of the month awards with Ryan Bednard winning Goaltender of the Month, Alec Rauhauser winning Defenseman of the Month and Max Johnson winning Forward of the Month.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.