BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Northern Michigan University (6-5-0, 3-4-0 CCHA) used a balanced scoring attack that included six different Wildcats scorers, as it skated past the Bowling Green Falcons, 6-3, at the BG Ice Arena on Friday night.
With the victory, the Wildcats snapped a four-game losing streak, their longest conference losing streak since rejoining the CCHA in 1997.
For the Falcons, their struggles continued. Bowling Green (2-7-1, 2-5-1 CCHA) has dropped three straight, and four of their last six contests.
The Wildcats used a strong first period, coupled with some defensive miscues on the part of Bowling Green, to take a first-period lead that they would not relinquish.
“Give Northern credit for jumping out in the first [period]. They had a pretty good roll there in the first period,” said Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch. “They got to some pucks and got on the power play early and capitalized, and got the momentum going in their favor.”
“We do a lot of positive things on the shift, but there’s a mistake that turns into a scoring chance against us. We work and work but the next thing you know, we give up a pretty good [scoring chance] against us on a somewhat harmless play.”
Derek Janzen, making just his second start of the year in net for the Wildcats, stopped 35 of 38 shots, many of which came with his team shorthanded. The Wildcats were whistled for 14 penalties on the night.
“He did a good job,” said Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle of Janzen. “Especially on the penalty kill.”
Though the Falcons struggled in the opening period of play, they were able to make a game of it from the second period on. Bowling Green poured on 33 shots in the final two periods of play, nabbing three goals and making the game a bit closer.
“It was a weird game,” said Kyle. “It was like two games. We scored some goals early, and then I thought Bowling Green played exceptionally well and didn’t back off one bit. It was an up-and-down game. Both teams had chances. It wasn’t a 6-3 game. It was a lot closer than that.”
Northern Michigan came out firing on all cylinders in the opening period, racking up 16 shots and three goals against Bowling Green goaltender Jimmy Spratt.
After Jonathan Matsumoto was called for a hooking penalty, the Wildcats notched their first goal of the night at 4:22 of the period. A Darin Olver shot from the right side of the crease kicked out to the stick of Pat Bateman. He beat a sprawling Spratt for his 3rd goal of the season. Jamie Milam added an assist on the play.
The Cats struck again at 8:28 of the period. Matt Maunu rang his first goal of the year off of the left post and into the net for a shorthanded tally from the right circle. Andy Contois and Dirk Southern assisted.
Northern Michigan scored its third goal of the game on a rebound. Sophomore winger Andrew Sarauer stuffed home a Rob Lehtinen shot that had caromed off the pads of Spratt for his second goal of the year. The goal came at 13:12 of the period.
The Wildcats continued their strong play early in the second period, as Olver and Milam notched a pair of goals to stake their team to a 5-0 lead.
Bowling Green put up 21 shots on goal in the period, but Derek Janzen stood tall in net for Northern Michigan, stopping a barrage of shots, most of them coming during the Falcons’ six power-play opportunities.
The Falcons finally found a hole in the wall at 9:12 of the period. Mike Falk took a crisp pass from Alex Foster while on a two-on-one rush and beat the Northern Michigan goalie for his ninth goal of the year. The goal was a power-play tally, and was also assisted by Matsumoto.
Zach Tarkir scored his first goal of the season midway through the third period for the Wildcats’ final tally of the night.
Foster and Brett Pilkington also lit the lamp for the Falcons in the final period.
Northern Michigan finished 1-for-8 on the power play. Bowling Green finished the night 1-for-10 with the man advantage.
Jimmy Spratt stopped 29 shots in 35 attempts for the Falcons.
Bowling Green and Northern Michigan will square off again tomorrow night.