MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan held on despite a third-period rally by Lake Superior State, beating the Lakers 4-3 Friday night to improve to 6-3-3 overall and 4-3-2 in conference play.
The Wildcats’ win over their Upper Peninsula rival was the 500th in the program’s 25-year history. NMU earned its first-ever win against Lake State, as well, coming out ahead 6-5 in a 1976 contest.
NMU freshman goalie Craig Kowalski made 39 saves for his team, stopping 15 shots in both the second and third periods. The Lakers (5-7-0 overall, 2-5-0 CCHA) outshot Northern Michigan 42-25 in the game, and rallied from a 4-1 deficit to make it a one-goal contest late in the third.
Four different players scored for the Wildcats, meanwhile, as senior Fred Mattersdorfer earned the eventual game-winner at 9:14 of the second period.
Northern Michigan freshman Brent Robertson scored on the power play at 12:46 of the first, tying the game at 1-1 after Lake Superior State’s Ryan Vince gave his team an early lead at 6:27.
Ryan Riipi, meanwhile, tipped a shot past Laker goalie Jayme Platt with seven seconds left in the first, breaking a 1-1 tie just moments before the opening intermission.
Tim Lindberg scored the third NMU goal, notching the first of his collegiate career two minutes into the second period. Mattersdorfer followed with his fifth of the season, before Lake State’s Chris Peterson and Jason Nightingale each put shots past Kowalski to make it 4-3. Peterson’s tally came late in the second period, while Nightingale’s came with 5:52 to play.
NMU’s Chris Gobert earned assists on three goals, while sophomore forward Bryce Cockburn had had pair of helpers. Will Magnuson assisted on Lake Superior State’s second and third goals.
Platt stopped 21 shots for his team, while Kowalski improves to 5-2-1 in his rookie campaign.
The two teams will meet again in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., on Saturday to finish their conference home-and-home series at the Taffy Abel Arena. Faceoff time is set for 7:05 p.m.