HOUGHTON, Mich. — Whenever Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan clash, the game is sure to be filled with exciting moments. Tuesday night’s tilt at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena was no exception as both teams held two-goal leads, but at the end of the night, the Wildcats escaped with a 4-4 tie.
Jared Coreau made 49 stops for the Wildcats, who survived a Huskies power play in overtime. The Huskies were 4-for-7 with the man advantage to stay unbeaten early in the season (2-0-1).
“The power play was outstanding,” Huskies coach Jamie Russell said. “I like both units. … We are getting opportunities from both units.”
In the third period, the Huskies fired 21 shots at Coreau. Huskies freshman winger Milos Gordic put one of those behind Coreau on the power play to even the game at 9:25.
Just 3:35 into the contest, the Wildcats switched goaltenders from junior Reid Ellingson to Coreau, a freshman. From that point forward, the Huskies took control of the opening period.
Wildcats forward Kory Kaunisto took a five-minute major penalty for contact to the head and the Huskies needed just a minute and a half to strike.
Assistant captain Bennett Royer tipped a slap shot from Deron Cousens over Coreau’s left shoulder at 9:43.
Still down a man, the Wildcats had another blow when forward Andrew Cherniwchan was whistled for tripping, forcing his team to play two men down.
“We knew we were going to end up killing a lot of penalties,” Wildcats coach Walt Kyle said. “They did a great job of generating shots on the power play.”
During the advantage, Cousens blasted another slap shot that Coreau stopped. The puck rebounded right to freshman winger Ryan Furne, who buried his first collegiate goal at 12:40.
Four minutes later, the Wildcats responded with their first tally of the night. Forward Chad Pietila picked up a loose puck in front of Huskies netminder Josh Robinson and beat him with a backhand.
The Wildcats (0-2-1) came out flying again to start the middle frame and the hard work paid off as forward Brian Nugent evened the game 2:39 in. Nugent took a pass from forward Justin Brown and beat Robinson up high.
Gordic had a chance to regain the Huskies’ lead about six minutes into the second, but Coreau made the stop.
In a rare occurrence, the Huskies took a pair of penalties at the same time. On the ensuing power play, assistant captain Justin Florek gave the Wildcats the lead at 8:43. Florek took a pass from Tyler Gron, attempted to fire a shot, fanned, but connected on the second try for the goal.
Gron extended the lead to two late in the period.
The Wildcats went into the second intermission in the driver’s seat, but didn’t stay there for long. A penalty to defenseman C.J. Ludwig saw to that.
Taking a pass from Cousens, Royer skated toward Coreau and beat him between his feet to cut the Wildcats’ lead in half at 5:17.
“We noticed that the goalie was a little weak in the feet,” Royer said. “I was actually hoping for a rebound to come out front and Milos to stick it in or something, but it went in.”
A little over a minute later, the Huskies nearly tied the game while shorthanded. Freshman winger Jacob Johnstone and senior center Eric Kattelus skated in on a two-on-one and Johnstone hit Kattelus with a pass. Kattelus’ shot was stopped by Coreau, as was the rebound that Johnstone attempted to stuff around him.
After the Huskies tied the game, they continued to pepper Coreau with shots. As time wound down, it became clear that the Wildcats were looking forward to the end of regulation, just to get a break from the Huskies’ onslaught.
In the extra session, Kyle Follmer took a penalty with 1:12 remaining after he fired the puck after the whistle. The Huskies controlled the final minute, but couldn’t find that elusive fifth tally.
Robinson made 22 saves for the Huskies. Cousens had four assists for Michigan Tech.