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College Hockey:
Kowalski Stands Tall In 2-1 Wildcat Victory

Rookie Netminder Stops 39 Falcon Shots To Win Goalies' Duel

— MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan freshman goalie Craig Kowalski stopped 39 of 40 Bowling Green shots Friday night, helping his team earn a 2-1 victory at the Berry Events Center.

Kowalski denied the first 34 shots he faced Friday, holding the Falcons off the scoreboard until midway through the third period. The win keeps the rookie netminder perfect this season, improving him to 4-0-1 in five career starts.

NMU is now unbeaten in its last six games, and moves to 5-1-2 overall and 3-1-1 in conference play.

But Bowling Green (1-5-1 overall, 1-3-1 CCHA), which outshot Northern Michigan 40-32, either controlled or matched the pace of the game the entire night. BGSU freshman defenseman Brian Escobedo scored his first career goal 11:40 into the third period, cutting a 2-0 NMU lead in half. The shot, which was the only one to beat Kowalski all night, tipped off Escobedo’s stick after Curtis Valentine launched the original shot. Junior forward Greg Day earned an assist on the play, as well.

That goal came on the power play, the only time the Falcons were able to convert on their seven tries. NMU was one-for-five.

“Killing penalties [was key] — and certainly quality goaltending,” NMU coach Rick Comley said. “It really wasn’t one of our better games, but I thought [BGSU] did what I expected them to do well. They’re big and strong and good in the offensive zone, and that’s where they gave us most of our trouble.”

NMU senior Ryan Riipi scored the eventual game-winner late in the second period, tipping in Mike Sandbeck’s power-play blast from the blue line. Chad Theuer had an assist, as well.

Bowling Green goalie Tyler Masters stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced.

The first to beat him came by way of Terry Harrison at 13:09 of the first period, when he took a neutral-zone pass from defenseman Jimmy Jackson and raced past the Falcon defenseman to give his team a 1-0 lead.

Both teams are set to battle again Saturday night, with faceoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Berry Events Center on the Northern Michigan campus.

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