MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan overcame a three-goal deficit to tie Alaska-Fairbanks, 4-4, on Friday night.
Terry Harrison scored twice in the third period — including a goal with 59 seconds left — to help the Wildcats climb out of a 4-2 second-intermission deficit. NMU (10-6-6 overall, 6-5-5 CCHA) had earlier trailed by 3-0 and 4-1 scores, following an impressive early effort by the visiting Nanooks (6-9-5, 4-7-5 CCHA).
“I thought [UAF] played an awful lot better than they did last night,” NMU coach Rick Comley said. “I thought they got a couple of soft goals on us early. But our kids fought hard — they played very well the last two periods.”
Alaska-Fairbanks outshot Northern Michigan, 11-7, in the opening period. The come-from-behind tie allowed the Wildcats to remain unbeaten in their all-time series with UAF.
Throughout the opening two periods, however, the game was paced by both the quality play of the Nanooks and the struggling Northern Michigan power play. But in the end, three of the Wildcats’ four goals came on man-advantage situations.
Bryce Cockburn struck twice for Northern Michigan, converting on two second-period power plays. The Wildcats finished 3-of-9 with an extra skater, while UAF was just 0-of-2.
Harrison’s game-tying goal came at 19:01 of the third period, with an extra Wildcat attacker on the ice. Harrison took a centering feed from Cockburn and fired a beautiful top-shelf wrister to even the score. The goal came after Harrison had made it 4-3 at 4:14 of the third, deflecting a Jimmy Jackson point shot on the power play by tipping it at the top-right corner of the crease.
The Nanooks had held a 3-0 lead after the first, with goals by Scott McIlroy, Ryan Reinheller and a shorthanded marker by Daniel Carriere with one minute remaining.
But Cockburn answered 2:39 into the second, making it 3-1 with his first of the game. After UAF’s Tom Herman gave his team a 4-1 lead just over a minute after Cockburn’s first, Cockburn again made it a two-goal game with another power play goal with just five seconds left. That set up Harrison’s two-goal effort in the third to help NMU come back and earn its tie.
Preston McKay stopped a total of 31 shots in net for the Nanooks, while Craig Kowalski made 20 saves for Northern Michigan.
The Wildcats will now travel for two games at Nebraska-Omaha next weekend. UAF, meanwhile, will host Ferris State.