MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan University Wildcats hockey team completed the sweep over top-ranked University of Minnesota - Duluth in convincing fashion Saturday night, topping the visiting Bulldogs, 5-2.
Bo Hanson took no time lighting the lamp, firing a shot into the back of the net just 97 seconds in. After scoring on their first shot of the contest, the Wildcats would go on to outshoot the Bulldogs, 9-5 in the opening period.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 3-0 with an early second period goal by AJ Vanderbeck and a power play goal from Alex Frye.
UMD got one back at 12:27 of the second stanza to snap Rico DiMatteo's shutout bid but the sophomore netminder continued to turn shot after shot aside, registering 15 saves in the period.
On a five minute power play opportunity, David Keefer capitalized for the final goal of the period, giving NMU the 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
The Bulldogs cut the Wildcats' lead in half just two minutes into the final period when a quick shot beat DiMatteo for the 4-2 score.
That would be the final goal allowed by the home Wildcats while NMU found the back of the empty net at 17:57 when UMD opted in favor of the extra attacker.
The Wildcats improve to 10-6-1 on the season and are undefeated in their last six contests.
- Bo Hanson net his first as a Wildcat just 97 seconds into the contest when his shot hit the cross bar and ricocheted down into the net. David Keefer got the puck back to Hank Crone who stood at the top of the near circle. He centered a pass to Hanson who was skating through the slot for the first goal of the night, giving the Wildcats the 1-0 lead.
- From his usual spot in the slot, AJ Vanderbeck extended the NMU lead to two with a quick flick of the wrist. Trevor Cosgrove stretched out for the long, cross-ice pass, finding Vanderbeck alone at the line to skate it in uncontested.
- Alex Frye scored his first of the season on the power play. The eventual game-winner came at 11:42 of the second period when a loose puck out front was tapped home by Frye to make it 3-0, NMU. Crone and Vanderbeck each picked up assists on the goal.
- Rushing in on the power play, Mike Van Unen fed a pass over to David Keefer who shot the puck above the glove of UMD's Patt for the 4-1 score late in the second period.
- The Wildcats' final goal of the night came on the empty net when Hank Crone received the puck in neutral ice and skated into the offensive zone. From the top of the far circle he fired a puck into the open net to seal the deal for the 5-2 final.
- The Wildcats posted 10 goals on the weekend series against a UMD defense that was averaging 1.25 goals against per game.
- NMU's 4.12 goals per game ranks third nationally behind only Denver and Cornell.
- With four points Saturday night, Hank Crone now leads the nation with 27 points (7-20-27) and is second in assists.
- Despite being outshot by a slim 33-31 margin, the Wildcats had 21 shots blocked in the victory. The home 'Cats also blocked 14 shots of their own, led by Ben Newhouse with four.
- Eight Wildcats highlighted the box score, including four with multi-point nights.
- Crone led the team in points with his empty net goal and three assists while David Keefer (1-1-2), AJ Vanderbeck (1-1-2) and Bo Hanson (1-1-2) all had a goal and an assist for two points each.
- Two Wildcats scored their first goals of the season in the win as Hanson tallied his first for NMU and Alex Frye lit the lamp for the first time in 2021-22.
- With his goal in the second period, AJ Vanderbeck extends his goal and point streak to five games, a team best. He now boasts six points over that stretch.
- Four other Wildcats currently ride point streaks of two or more games, including Crone who sits at seven points in his last three games (1-6-7). Trevor Cosgrove, who had an assist Saturday, has tallied six points in his last three outings. David Keefer and Vincent de Mey each have two goals on the weekend and an assist for a two-game streak.
- Rico DiMatteo made some improbable saves in the game as he improved to 10-5-1 on the season with 31 saves in Saturday night's victory.
The Wildcats return to Central Collegiate Hockey Association action next weekend with a trip across the Upper Peninsula to Lake Superior State University, Dec. 10-11.