MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Wildcats defeated the Huskies, 4-3 in overtime, in front of a sellout crowd of 3,902 in the 101st meeting of the U.P. hockey rivals, Northern Michigan (3-0) and Michigan Tech (0-1). It marked the start of the Ramada Cup Series for the 2003-04 season.
The Huskies jumped out to a quick lead, with Chris Connor scoring one of his three goals at 5:02 of the first period. NMU’s Alan Swanson answered back at 6:26 with his first goal of the season to tie the game at one-all. To end the first period Dirk Southern scored a short-handed goal for his second goal of the season at 17:25. The second period saw the Huskies tie the game (2-2) on Connor’s second goal of the night at 3:22 of the period.
Michigan Tech would take the lead at 3-2 in the third period at 8:11 as Connor would conclude his hat-trick with an unassisted goal. The Wildcats would call a timeout with less than a minute of play left on the clock to set up for the final push. The timeout helped as Craig Kowalski was pulled for the extra attacker, Nathan Oystrick would score his first goal of the season at 19:37 to send the game to overtime.
“We were just trying to get the puck deep, put it on the net and see what happened,” said Oystrick. “Darin Olver made a great play.”
In overtime both teams would come out strong. The game-winning goal was scored with the Wildcats up by two skaters, as Andrew Contois scored the game-winner at 3:48 of the extra period for his second goal of the season. The overtime goal was the Wildcat’s lone goal on the power play in nine chances on the night. The Huskies had five power-play opportunities and could not convert on the night.
Kowalski, now 3-0 on the season, had 30 saves in the win. Bryce Luker, a freshman, was staring his first game for the Huskies and kept 27 shots away from the goal.
These two rivals will meet for a second time on Saturday, October 18, at the MacInnes Ice Arena in Houghton, Mich. They play for second game of the Ramada Cup Series will begin at 7:35 p.m.