MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan stayed out of the penalty box until the final minutes Friday night, which also happened to be the only time Bowling Green could find the back of the net in a 4-1 Wildcat win at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.
Senior captain Stephan Vigier, Luke Eibler, Brock Maschmeyer and John Siemer staked the Wildcats out to a 4-0 lead midway through the third period and goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom stopped 24 shots to jump the Wildcats from ninth to eighth in the WCHA standings with three games to play in the regular season.
Dahlstom only faced two shots in the first period, but had to hang on in the third when NMU was outshot 12-3.
“Today was so fun watching the guys play and it was so good,” Dahlstrom said. “I was really in the game anyway.
“The guys played really good in front of me this whole night. A few times I had to make saves, but still, they cleaned up a lot.”
Eibler originally assisted on Vigier’s goal in the first period before scoring himself via an assist by Reed Seckel in the second period.
Siemer set up Maschmeyer midway through the second period before scoring his goal in the third period with an assist from Darren Nowick.
The Wildcats also picked up two assists from Gerard Hanson to take a one-point lead over ninth-place Bemidji State, which lost at home to rival Alabama-Huntsville 2-1.
Only the top eight teams make the WCHA playoffs this year.
“We had some big plays by some big guys and I thought Mathis was really good,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “We ended up capitalizing on some chances.”
A boarding call on Mark Cooper in the first period and an interference call against Adam Berkle were the only two penalties of the game – which the Falcons were able to kill – until NMU took two penalties in the final three minutes.
The first, a hook by Shane Sooth, led to a power-play goal by Ryan Carpenter with 2:10 remaining in regulation. Cooper and Sean Walker were credited with assists on a goal that required two rebounds to beat Dahlstrom.
The second penalty, a hook on Ryan Kesti with 54 seconds to go, led to nothing but a bit of extra anxiety for the season-low 1,548 Wildcats fans in attendance.
“We took advantage of a good start and took advantage of their turnovers,” Vigier said. “As the game went on, we had a few turnovers that we shouldn’t have. We should have cleaned up our game a little bit.”
Dahlstrom finished with 24 saves for Northern while BGSU netminder Tommy Burke made 21 saves.
The Falcons and Wildcats meet again Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. in the regular-season finale in Marquette.