MARQUETTE, Mich. — After being dominated by Michigan in a 6-2 loss on Friday, No. 14 Northern Michigan proved it could match up against the No. 5-ranked Wolverines Saturday night, forcing a 2-2 tie in front of a sellout crowd at the Berry Events Center.
The Wildcats (7-5-5 overall, 5-5-4 CCHA) twice came back from a one-goal deficit to even the score. Chris Gobert’s tally with 8:25 remaining in the third period tied the game for good and forced the overtime period.
But in the extra session Michigan (11-3-3, 7-3-1) launched an offensive attack of its own, outshooting the Wildcats, 7-0. NMU goalie Dan Ragusett stood tall, however, denying a number of quality opportunities.
Ragusett finished the game with 29 saves. Josh Blackburn stopped 24 shots for the Wolverines.
“(Ragusett) played very well,” Northern Michigan coach Rick Comley said. “He had a very solid performance. You could see his game coming on the last couple of weeks, so he certainly earned the right to play this weekend.”
Michigan linemates Mike Cammalleri and Andy Hilbert each had a goal and an assist in the game, while Mike Stutzel owned the first of Northern Michigan’s goals.
But after Friday’s 6-2 loss, Comley was more than happy to see his team rebound and play as well as they did.
“I thought the kids worked very hard and bounced back after a disappointing loss. When you lose as badly as we did last night, it showed an awful lot of character coming back like we did tonight.”
Cammalleri broke a scoreless tie at 7:56 of the second period, netting his 11th of the season from Geoff Koch and Hilbert.
But NMU quickly countered, scoring less than a minute later to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was Stutzel’s second of the season, and came off of a deflection of defenseman Colin Young’s shot from the point. Stutzel, who had parked himself just outside of the crease on Blackburn’s glove side, knocked in the shot to even things up at 8:45.
Michigan again broke the tie just over eight minutes into the third, when Hilbert earned his 10th of the year from Jeff Jillson and Cammalleri.
But Gobert forced the overtime tie three minutes later, taking a beauty of pass from Dan Donnette in front of the Michigan goal to even things at 2-2.
The Wildcats will now begin preparation for a home-and-home series against nonconference rival Michigan Tech. Next Friday’s contest is slated for 7:35 p.m. in Houghton, while Saturday’s game will be at 7 p.m. at NMU’s Berry Events Center. Michigan, meanwhile, will host St. Lawrence of the ECAC next Friday and Saturday at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor.