HOUGHTON, Mich. — Northern Michigan goaltender Craig Kowalski, making his collegiate debut, made several huge saves late in the third period and then in overtime as the Wildcats held on for a 3-3 tie with Michigan Tech on Friday.
The Huskies played the last 1:40 of overtime on the power play after NMU’s Ryan Carrigan went off for hooking, but couldn’t get the game-winner.
Paul Cabana, Mat Snesrud, and Tab Lardner scored for Michigan Tech (0-0-1). Sophomore goaltender Brian Rogers made 23 saves.
Ryan Riipi, Bryce Cockburn, and Ryan Carrigan scored for Northern Michigan (0-0-1). Kowalski finished with 23 saves.
“I thought that it was a pretty solid effort by a lot of guys out there,” Huskies coach Tim Watters said. “We’re going to need our upperclassmen to lead like that. I was proud of the way they led our hockey club tonight.”
Said NMU coach Rick Comley: “There were moments that were good in the game and there were moments that were terribly sloppy. We probably both benefited from the game.”
Riipi gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead at 8:24 of the opening period when he buried a centering pass from Peter Michelutti.
The Huskies answered six minutes later and just nine seconds into a power play when Cabana scored from Snesrud and Brad Patterson.
The Wildcats regained the lead when Cockburn scored on the power play from Jimmy Jackson and Mike Sandbeck at 17:38.
Snesrud evened it back up for the Huskies when he scored from Matt Ulwelling at 1:19 of the second period.
Then, with Clint Way in the penalty box for holding, Lardner beat a sprawled out Kowalski for a shorthanded goal that gave Tech a 3-2 lead with 3:57 left in the period.
But the Wildcats answered with another power-play goal when Matt Hunter scored from Carrigan and Terry Harrison at 18:40. That goal turned out to be the final tally of the game as both goaltenders turned in strong performances.
“I thought we really struggled at center ice,” Comley said. “We didn’t have a center who really played well and that’s something we’re going to have to solve.”
Michigan Tech was 1-for-6 on the power play. Northern Michigan finished 2-for-4.