College Hockey:
Kowalski, Northern Michigan Earn First Win, 5-3

Goaltender Stops 25 Shots to Down Ohio State

— Freshman goalie Craig Kowalski stopped 25 shots to help earn Northern Michigan its first win of the season, a 5-3 triumph over visiting Ohio State at the Berry Events Center Saturday night.

Five different players scored for the Wildcats, who avenged a 5-3 Friday night loss to the Buckeyes with an offensive explosion of their own, outshooting Ohio State, 39-27.

“(Kowalski) started strong,” NMU coach Rick Comley said. “He made a lot of good saves. He’s an outstanding young goalie.”

Kowalski stopped 11 Buckeye attempts in the first period. His counterpart, Mike Betz, made a total of 34 saves for Ohio State.

NMU sophomore Chris Gobert opened the scoring when he tipped in teammate Terry Harrison’s shot at the 18:15 mark of the first period. Junior defenseman Sean Connolly earned an assist, as well.

But the Buckeyes wasted little time in knotting the score, as Jean-Francois Dufour notched a power-play goal with just 37 seconds left, getting assists from Scott May and Andre Signoretti. It was Dufour’s third goal of the weekend.

The Wildcats took the lead for good, however, when Fred Mattersdorfer tipped in a power-play shot by Mike Sandbeck, giving his team a 2-1 lead 5:33 into the second period. Connolly earned an assist on the goal as well.

NMU defenseman Jimmy Jackson scored his first of the season at the 17:17 mark, with Ryan Riipi and Mike Stutzel assisting.

“I thought the defensive trio of Connolly, Sandbeck and Jackson played very well,” Comley said. “They really stepped it up tonight.”

But again, the Buckeyes quickly countered, as Doug Andress scored on the power play at 18:01. Assists went to Luke Pavlas and Jaisen Freeman.

Junior center Chad Theuer gave NMU a 4-2 lead when he scored off a pass from Bryce Cockburn at the 1:35 mark of the third period. Cockburn later iced the game with an empty-net goal at 19:10.

“We needed the upperclassmen to stand up,” Comley said. “We have such a young team some nights we’re going to look good and some nights we aren’t. [Ohio State] jumped out on us last night, but I thought we did a good job tonight of neutralizing their speed.”

The Wildcats improved to 1-1-1 overall and 1-1-0 in the CCHA. The Buckeyes are 1-1-0 overall and in conference action.

NMU will continue CCHA play next weekend when it travels to Ferris State for a pair of games against the Bulldogs. Ohio State will host Niagara for a non-conference game next Saturday.

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  • Dusty Bronco

    First, I love the shootout and I think it would be great for all of college hockey to get it…one of the more exciting times at lawson last year was watching Dennis Brown get dirty on Cal Heeter.
    Second a shout out to Dane Walters and his hat trick this weekend…Way to go Broncos!!!!

    • Paula Weston

      Definite congratulations to Walters for the hat trick.  Walters has scored in batches this season.  Interesting player, for sure.

      Lots of fans love the shootout.  I know I’m in the minority.  Unlike most of the world, though, I don’t understand the need to eliminate ties — nor to add a point for something that has absolutely nothing to do with the previous 65 minutes of play.  Just me.

      • JJfP

        You are NOT in the minority about the shootout.  I do not know one fan (not that I know more than only several dozen…)  who likes the shootout.  I also know one coach who despises it–maybe more than I do.  Your take on the MSU celebration is accurate.  They didn’t “win”–especially in the eyes of the NCAA.

  • Ed Goodman

    Hi Paula!

    I enjoy your articles.  I’m actually ambivalent about the shootout.  Yes, it’s an exciting way to determine winners and losers after overtimes, but if it went away, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, either.  As for what I want Santa to bring my team, I have three things … a nice run in the NCAA Tournament, more stellar recruiting classes, and better fan support!


  • Hky_fan

    OSU is clearly overrated.  Miami dominated them all weekend.  It took a sketchy call from an official for the OSU victory Saturday night.

    • IHF

      Why do so many MU fans (apologies if you aren’t but I highly doubt it) complain about the officiating when you lose?  Take a look at your season thread and follow along.  No complaints about the refs for a few weeks, then you lose to NMU and someone calls the officiating into question.  Lose Saturday and it is the same thing.  In 40 years of following this sport I have done my share of complaining about the refs, but I have never posted on this site about poor officiating following a loss.  It shows bad form and should be/rightly is considered sour grapes.   

      • Prue

        It’s not just referees. Ever since Miami kind of put the nail in the coffin of the CCHA, reporters, announcers, officials and others seem to have new bias against the hawks.  If you think I’m paranoid, explain this weeks poll

        19th ranked Miami beats 4th ranked Ohio State….Ohio State doesn’t move and Miami gets dropped off the poll and is moved down to the middle of the “others getting votes” list.  This means Miami needs to beat a 4th ranked team twice just to maintain around 19th place???  Since Ohio State is the highest ranked CCHA team, how can the Hawks ever advance in the USCHO poll?

        Thank heavens for the computer generated Pairwise.

        • IHF

          You are paranoid, and whatever it is it certainly ISN’T the referees.  No one I know of is blaming MU for the demise of the CCHA.  Once MSU and UM were gone and Notre Dame was reluctant to publicly state their 1st desire was to remain in the CCHA, Miami saw the writing on the wall.  Like half of college hockey (my team most assuredly doing the same) they were looking out for their “best interests.”  Some blame Penn State, and plenty blame DU and North Dakota. Some even blame the Irish.  Maybe people aren’t putting MU in the ridiculously large USCHO poll because no one knows yet what they are this year.  The team we saw in the first few weeks who couldn’t get out of their own way, the team we saw in November that looked like their recent NCAA and FF teams, or the one we’ve seen the last two weeks that is 1-3?  Miami is a .500 team.  No .500 team deserves to be ranked in any poll, meaningless or otherwise, after half a season has been played.   

        • Paula Weston

          That same computer-generated PairWise that has Miami at 19?  Well, there were 21 people that voted Miami among the top 20 in this week’s USCHO.com Poll (and, no, there is no conspiracy to keep them out of the poll — it’s all math), so the voters and that computer-generated PWR are generally in agreement.

          Miami  has lost hree of its last four and had a very bad start to the season.  The RedHawks will probably have to earn a little respect before people start voting for them again. You may recall that Miami  was No. 2 in the first USCHO.com and that the RedHawks were No. 2 in both the coaches and media CCHA preseason polls. Considering that those polls were released after any perceived coffin-pounding that Miami may have done, your revenge theory doesn’t make sense.

          I usually publish my ballot with my weekly column, but as there is no column this week, I plan to publish it Friday.  You’ll see how I voted Miami then.

  • John Fitzgerald

    Shootouts are for the fans more than the teams.  That said, my WMU Broncos have benefited greatly of the ties and Shoot-out wins over the past 1 1/2 seasons. 

    I’m guessing a Fan Survey would result in a WIN for the Shoot-out.  We’ll see what the NCHC does with it, but my $$$ is on the shoot-out.

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