BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – Behind a dominant third-period performance, the Northern Michigan University hockey team defeated Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe Ferris State University, 6-3.
After two periods of play both teams skated to the locker rooms hopeful to come back strong in the final period and take an important three points in conference play. A three-goal period was just that for the Wildcats as they outlasted the home Bulldogs inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena Friday night.
The Bulldogs struck first at 12:47 of the opening period when a rebound found the stick of an FSU attacker in front of a wide open net. Before Rico DiMatteo could get himself back in place the puck had found the back of the net and the ‘Cats found themselves trailing 1-0 part way through the first.
The Wildcats answered with a goal of their own just 64 seconds later to swing all momentum back in their favor when Andre Ghantous lit the lamp at 13:51 of the first frame.
NMU had another good look on an odd-man rush shortly after their equalizer but were unable to take advantage of the shot and the two teams played on, tied 1-1.
Both teams fired shot after shot on net with the Wildcats picking up 11 shots on goal through the first period of play but it was FSU who found themselves up 2-1 after one.
After allowing a goal with 1:15 left in the frame, the Wildcats saw two short-handed opportunities late to knot things back up but were unable to beat FSU’s Stein in net and skated to the intermission down a goal.
A slew of penalties opened the second period of play with five calls between the two teams to carry us to the halfway point of the period with each team successfully killing off the opposition’s chances.
Mikey Colella and Vincent de Mey both scored in the waning minutes of the second period to give the Wildcats the 3-2 lead as they approached the 40 minute mark.
FSU answered with a goal of their own with 90 ticks left on the clock to make it 3-3. After a breakaway chance was denied by DiMatteo, the Bulldogs continued to pressure the NMU defense and eventually found the back of the net to knot it up heading into the final period.
The Wildcats came out blazing in the third period, unwilling to let the late FSU goal in the last period deter them. Colella and Rylan Van Unen combined for a pair of goals just 19 seconds apart in the opening minutes of the third to give NMU the 5-3 lead.
Senior captain Joseph Nardi rounded out the scoring Friday night with a power play tally at 11:52 of the third to give the Wildcats the 6-3 final on the road.
Between the pipes, DiMatteo recorded 28 saves on 31 shots faced to improve his season record to 6-5-0 as the Wildcats advanced to 6-6-0 on the season and 4-5-0 in CCHA play.
- Andre Ghantous lit the lamp for NMU at 13:51 of the first period when his shot slid off the right pad of the FSU netminder and into the back of the net. Mikey Colella and Joseph Nardi each tallied an assist on the goal.
- Mikey Colella picked up the loose puck off a turnover in the offensive zone, spinning around in front of the crease and getting a shot past Stein in net to tie things up at 2-2.
- Less than two minutes later Vincent de Mey scored a goal of his own with a wrister in the slot to give NMU their first lead of the night. Oscar Geschwind, who earned the primary assist on the goal, picked up his first point as a Wildcat. Hank Crone was also credited with an assist on the play.
- Oscar Geschwind skated the puck up ice, finding an open Colella at the doorstep where he tapped the puck home for the eventual game-winner. Andre Ghantous also tallied an assist on the goal.
- Rylan Van Unen lit the lamp 19 seconds after Colella’s game-winner with a shot from inside the hashes. Standing along between the two hashmarks, he found a pass from Ben Newhouse and sent a shot home to make it 5-3 at 2:14 of the third period.
- Joseph Nardi rounded out the scoring in Friday’s contest with a power play goal at 11:12 of the third period to give NMU the 6-3 final. Vincent de Mey picked up the puck off the face-off and waited for an open lane. He sent the puck up to Ghantous at the goal line who threw the Bulldog defenders off, quickly releasing a pass back out to Nardi who stood just to the right of the near dot to one-time it home.
- Oscar Geschwind tallied his first collegiate point Friday night, with an assist on Vincent de Mey’s goal late in the second period.
- Rico DiMatteo made 28 saves in the victory, turning aside all but three en route to NMU’s 6-3 win.
- The ‘Cats went one-for-five on the power play, finding twine at the hands of Joseph Nardi while killing all FSU attempts with the man-advantage.
- NMU blocked four shots in the contest.
- With 29 shots on net, the Wildcats were led by Mikey Colella, de Mey and Nardi who each boasted four a piece.
The Wildcats return to Ewigleben Ice Arena Saturday night, Nov. 20, for a 6 p.m. puck drop against the Bulldogs to round out the weekend series.