Hockey sinks Lake Superior State with 2-1 overtime victory


MUCH NEEDED WIN— Defenseman Jakob Peterson controls the puck for the Wildcats during the team’s 2-1 win over Lake Superior State on Saturday. NMU responded after losing 6-1 in Friday’s match-up. Travis Nelson/NW

Travis Nelson, Sports Editor

The Northern Michigan University hockey team turned the tables after falling flat in a 6-1 thumping on Friday, and responded with a 2-1 overtime win on Saturday evening.

In Friday’s match-up, LSSU (12-15-1, 8-9 CCHA) jumped out to a 3-0 first period on NMU (14-10-1, 8-9-1 CCHA) and the Wildcats couldn’t find their way back into it. David Keefer scored in the second period, but the Lakers answered with three more goals in the five-goal win. Despite what the score looked like, the Wildcats had 41 shots on goal and outshot LSSU 23-3 in the second period.

“The first period yesterday hurt us, being off I think obviously had a big impact on the outcome of the game,” NMU coach Grant Potulny said. “We were more prepared to be competitive tonight, I think that’s the biggest difference.”

Keefer scored two of NMU’s three goals on the weekend, including the winner at 2:30 in overtime when he beat Lakers’ goaltender Seth Eisele high side with a back-handed goal. Andre Ghantous and Trevor Cosgrove dished out assists on the play.

“It was an unreal play by Dre [Ghantous] and I cut to the net, I saw that I could beat my guy,” Keefer said. “Dre made a good pass and I saw that he gave up his glove side, so I just backhanded up there and it felt awesome to get the win.”

Saturday’s first period was much better, and the ‘Cats took a 1-0 lead with a nice pass from Ghantous to Ben Newhouse for the goal off of the rush. Goalkeeper Charlie Glockner also notched an assist. 

The NMU penalty kill and Glockner also came up big in the first period after Jett Jungels got a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for kneeing. The Wildcats came out of the period scaved, and led 1-0 at the first intermission.

“We’re just missiling pucks, and then as the game went, you were wondering if you would get another one by him,” Potulny said.

The second period was uneventful for the most part with the exception of some chippy play. This changed when after a fight caused a 4v4, Mikey Colella picked up a slashing penalty and led to a Lake State 4v3. Miroslav Mucha scored two goals and had one assist on Friday, and struck again with a power-play goal to tie the game 1-1 with 2:59 left in the period. 

In a tied game during the third period, the game got tense down the stretch. Both teams combined for 11 shots in the period, resulting in overtime. Both teams had their chances in the 3v3, but the Ghantous pass and the Keefer shot was the difference.

“It was a really important game for us, [Joseph] Nardi’s out, [Hank] Crone’s out, Rico [DiMatteo] didn’t play,” Potulny said. “There was a lot of newness tonight and it was really important.”

Glockner got the start in net and had 23 saves in his sixth game played of the season. With some of the guys out that are unavailable, good goaltending might just have to be how NMU tries to win down the stretch.

“I thought he was outstanding, as the course of the year went on, I think he started to adjust to what college hockey is and how hard you have to compete,” Potulny said. “The past three weeks, I’ve really seen a change in him. He made some huge saves tonight, that’s going to be our new recipe for us to win now, you’re without Nardi, you’re without Crone, you have some other injuries and you might have to win some games 2-1.”

Northern now has an irregular schedule on its plate with a match-up on the road against Michigan Tech on Tuesday at 6:07 p.m.

“I just wanted to get a win this weekend, and we got a big game against Tech against Tuesday and it would suck to not win this weekend and go into that game,” Glockner said. “It’s something to build off of.”