MARQUETTE, Mich. — While the Northern Michigan Wildcats began Saturday’s game against Wayne State much stronger than Friday’s game, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, the Warriors ultimately prevailed, sweeping the Wildcats with a 3-2 overtime win
On a power play at 9:52 of the first, Matt Butcher redirected the puck off Wayne State’s Dylan Exton to the right of rookie goalie Mike Devoney, who had his first career start and win the previous night, to start the game with a vengeance. At 14:22, Mark Olver scored on a breakaway that went left of Devoneys left knee to give the Wildcats and early 2-0 lead.
“Mark was great tonight,” Wildcats’ coach Walt Kyle said. “He was our best forward all weekend.”
The second period began with each team a man down while Gregor Hanson and Ryan Bernardi served roughing penalties. With 17 seconds left in the four-on-four, the Wildcats’ Ray Kaunisto took a charging penalty that helped the Warriors start their rally. The goal, from senior Derek Bachynski, went high over Wildcats’ goalie Brian Stewart’s left shoulder.
“I had an injury over the summer and I’m just getting back into the swing of things,” Bachynski said. “It was good to get my first goal of the season and get the game going.”
“Once we were down a couple goals, we came into the room and talked about how we have to start getting back with it,” Caister said. “They obviously knocked us around a bit and we knew we could hang with them and we started to throw in the checks and that’s when our game turned around in our favor and the pucks started going in.”
At 11:22 of the third, Wayne State tied the game with a shot from Stavros Paskaris.
“We needed a goal to tie it up,” Bachynski said. “I was in the corner and I saw my linemate rushing in front of the net and I quick fired it, kind of blind, and he put it home. It was a good goal to tie up the game”
The game went into overtime and the Wildcats’ Matt Siaddall served a roughing after the whistle penalty. After some precision passing, Castier shot the puck over Stewart’s right shoulder from the top of the faceoff corner to give the Warriors their first sweep of the season with a 3-2 overtime victory.
“Bernardi made a great play,” Caister said. “He waited out the defense and found me. I just put my head down and fired it and was lucky enough to get a goal out of it. We battled three periods and it’s never easy coming into someone else’s arena, taking three points, and especially a non-conference game against a CCHA team, but we kept working hard and it started to pay off, the puck started to go in and we got the three points so we’re obviously pretty happy.”
“We worked hard from start to finish,” Warriors’ coach Bill Wilkinson said. “With their two-goal lead, they capitalized opportunities that we didn’t, but then we started to gain momentum and scored our first goal and that seemed to help us build our game. With power plays, it’s not how many goals you score, it’s when you score them. We couldn’t have scripted it any better.”
“Northern is easily the hardest hitting team we’ve played this year,” Caister said. “All 60 minutes we were finishing the checks and that’s hard to play against, but that’s hockey and we gave some of our own and it was ‘good old fashion hockey’ that was fun to play in and hopefully fun to watch.”