Wildcats Top USNTDP 5-3 In Exhibition Play


MARQUETTE, Mich. — In an exhibition contest against Team USA’s National Team Development Program Under-18 squad, the Wildcats of Northern Michigan University rolled to a 5-3 victory to defend their home barn.

The Wildcat offense picked up where it had left off last weekend, finding the back of the net three times in the opening period, courtesy of Alex Frye, David Keefer and AJ Vanderbeck

The U18 team celebrated as if they had gotten one back in the final minutes of the period but upon further review, it was determined the puck rang off the crossbar and was ruled no goal.

Charlie Glockner made his first start as a  Wildcat in the exhibition, making a series of jaw-dropping saves late in the period to keep his team unscathed through one period of play. The freshman stopped all six shots fired his way to hold the 3-0 lead into the first intermission.

After one period of play, the Wildcats were outshooting the U18 team, 10-6.

AJ Vanderbeck continued his scoring ways, lighting the lamp for his second of the night at 4:06 of the middle frame to make it a 4-0 contest. Following the power play tally from Vanderbeck, the U18 team made a change in net.

The Wildcats struggled to find the offensive power from the previous two periods early in the third period as the U18 team fired 13 straight shots on Glockner before the Wildcats’ first of the period. 

Connor Marritt rounded out the scoring for NMU when he picked off a puck in the defensive zone as the Wildcats fought off a penalty. He rushed the length of the ice, beating two USNTDP defenders while creating a two-on-one chance to make it 5-0, shorthanded.

Team USA snapped Glockner’s shutout bid with a goal at 12:14 of the third period before adding two more to the score late for the 5-3 final.

In the win, Glockner boasted a career-high 41 saves, including an impressive mark of 25 in the third period alone. 

With the win, the Wildcats improve their all-time record against the U18 team to 8-0-1.

  • The Wildcat defense went to work as Mike Van Unen chased down a would-be breakaway attempt and poke-checked the puck off a Team USA stick to gain possession back for the ‘Cats. Ben Newhouse grabbed the loose puck along the boards and sent it up ice where Rylan Van Unen stood at the red line. Skating it in deep, R. Van Unen’s shot attempt was denied and left on the pads of the USNTDP netminder where Alex Frye lifted it home for the opening goal.
  • After picking up the primary assist on the first goal, R. Van Unen skated the puck into the zone again but was blocked by the USA defense when he ripped a shot off. Garrett Klee picked the puck up along the near boards and sent the pass towards the slot where David Keefer fired a one-timer into the back of the net to make it 2-0 Wildcats.
  • AJ Vanderbeck added to the Wildcat tally when he fired a shot off from the top of the slot at 16:02 of the opening period. His power play goal, assisted by Hank Crone and Keefer, gave NMU the 3-0 lead.
  • The power play success stormed on in the second period as Vanderbeck net the eventual game-winner just 14 seconds into the man-advantage for the Wildcats. The goal made it a 4-0 contest and assists were credited to Ben Newhouse and Crone.
  • Connor Marritt lit the lamp in his second-straight game to make it 5-0 Wildcats at 9:05 of the third period. While on the kill, the sophomore intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and rushed the ice before sending a rocket into the net, beating the U18 goalie, blocker side.
  • The Wildcats are 8-0-1 all-time in exhibition contests against the USNTDP team.
  • The Wildcats blocked 16 total shots, including nine in the final period of play to outlast the U18 team en route to the 5-3 final.Mike Van Unen led the team in shots blocked with five, while Tanner Vescio contributed an additional three in the victory.
  • Charlie Glockner in his debut start for the green and gold laid out for an impressive 41 saves to pick up his first victory between the pipes, including 25 of 28 saves in the final period of play to hold out for the win.
  • With two goals in the contest, AJ Vanderbeck led the team in the category, continuing his goal-streak from the previous weekend. In his last two outings, the junior has posted six points (4-2-6).
  • His linemate, Hank Crone, also boasts six points in the last two contests, adding two assists to his overall tally Friday night to improve to two goals and four assists.
  • Along with the first goal of the night, Alex Frye led the team in shots, firing four on net to help his team to victory.
  • Five individuals posted multi-point nights as David Keefer (1-1-2), Ben Newhouse (0-2-2), Rylan Van Unen (0-2-2), Crone (0-2-2) and Vanderbeck (2-0-2) all highlighted the box score on multiple occasions.
  • While the penalty kill unit did damage for the Wildcats Friday night, including boasting a perfect percentage and a shorthanded tally by Connor Marritt, the power play went two-of-five on the night with AJ Vanderbeck scoring both on the man-advantage.

The Wildcats return to regular season play when they host the University of Notre Dame on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Puck drop in the non-conference contest is set for 6:37 p.m.

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