College Hockey:
Epp’s first two goals help Northern Michigan extend Michigan Tech’s skid

— Looking to finally put an end to their 10-game losing streak, the Michigan Tech Huskies were in search of some magic at the Berry Events Center, but it was the hosts who did the damage.

Northern Michigan used four second-period tallies to earn a 6-2 victory over the Huskies on Friday. Freshman defenseman Wayne Epp scored his first two collegiate goals to help lift the Wildcats.

“We have not been able to generate a lot of shots from the point throughout the year,” Wildcats coach Walt Kyle said. “If you do that, a lot of times that can generate second and third shots.”

The Huskies (3-11-2) came into the game with the nation’s longest losing streak, and skated stride-for-stride with the Wildcats after the first shift of the game, outshooting the Wildcats 8-7 for the opening 20 minutes.

It was the Wildcats (9-8-3) who came closest to breaking the scoreless tie in the period when forward Tyler Gron fed winger Mike Maltese in front of the Huskies’ goal on the power play. Fortunately for the Huskies, Maltese’s shot sailed wide of the goal.

Epp’s two second-period goals were sandwiched around a score by Huskies winger Milos Gordic. Epp’s first career goal came on a shot that looked more like a pass, but snuck through traffic to beat Huskies netminder Kevin Genoe at 4:01.

“I didn’t know that I had scored until they picked up the puck,” Epp said. “To chip in offensively feels great.”

Gordic redirected a shot from freshman center Dennis Rix past Wildcats goaltender Jared Coreau at 11:01.

Epp’s second goal was a wrist shot that hit a Huskies defender and caromed past Genoe at the 15:33 mark.

Winger Brian Nugent extended the Wildcats’ lead to two with his third goal of the season 1:24 after Epp’s second goal. CJ Ludwig picked up his second assist of the night by feeding Nugent, who scored from the top of the right circle.

The Wildcats extended their lead to three with just two seconds left in the middle frame when Gregor Hanson found defenseman Kyle Follmer crashing the net. Follmer beat Genoe with a one-timer.

Junior Josh Robinson replaced Genoe to start the third period, and the Huskies used the goaltender change to attempt to climb back into the game. Sophomore center Evan Witt carried the puck nearly the length of the rink and fed captain Deron Cousens. Cousens gave the puck back to Witt, who fired a shot on Coreau. The rebound kicked out to junior winger Alex MacLeod, who scored his fifth goal of the season at 6:16.

“We have to be more consistent and thorough,” Huskies coach Jamie Russell said. “I thought we fought back hard to make it 4-2.”

The Wildcats regained the three-goal lead at 8:06 when center Stephan Vigier scored his first collegiate goal on the power play.

Phil Fox closed out the scoring at 15:31 with another power-play goal. Defenseman Scott Macaulay fed Fox for the one-timer.

Coreau made 22 saves to improve 4-2-1 on the season. Genoe and Robinson combined to make 20 stops in the loss.

The Wildcats finished 2-for-6 on the power play while holding the Huskies to 0-for-3.

With the win, the Wildcats evened the season series with the Huskies at 1-1-1.

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