Kesti leads Wildcats past Mavs

NMU WILDCATSCourtesy of NMU Athletics

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Junior forward Ryan Kesti scored two goals to lead the Northern Michigan University hockey team to a 5-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association win over Minnesota State Friday at the Berry Events Center.

The win pushes the Wildcats to 11-12-2 overall with a 9-7-1 WCHA record. The Mavericks fall to 14-13-0 overall with a 12-7-0 league mark.

“I thought it was a really good effort. We had gone down there earlier this year and not played very well and they handed it to us pretty good,” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle. “We knew they were a really good team and we knew we were going to need a big effort. I was really pleased with the guys we had in the lineup and how hard they played. We asked them to play hard and they did.”

After a scoreless first period, Johnny Mcinnis scored the first goal of the game for Minnesota State. On the power play, he connected on a feed from Zach Stepan and Matt Leitner at the 17:22 mark of the second period.

NMU then rattled off three goals to take a 3-1 lead. Senior forward Stephan Vigier tied the game on a power play goal at 19:44 in the second period. Junior defender Mitch Jones and junior forward Reed Seckel assisted on the play.

Kesti scored his first of goal at the 4:26 mark of the third period when he finished a pass from senior defenseman Wade Epp and sophomore defenseman Barrett Kaib.

Freshman forward John Siemer then stole a Mavericks pass and scored an unassisted goal at the 5:50 mark of the third. MSU scored to cut the NMU lead to 3-2 when Chase Grant scored on a feed from Teddy Blueger and Sean Flanagan at the 7:59 mark of the third.

Freshman forward Dominik Shine scored on a pass from Seckel and freshman forward Shane Sooth at the 14:53 mark of the third to pad the NMU lead 4-2.

Kesti wrapped up the game for NMU scoring an empty net goal with 20-seconds left on the clock.

NMU outshot the Mavericks 31-26 and went 1-2 on the power play. Minnesota State was 1-5 on the power play.

Freshman goalie Mathias Dahlstrom made 24 saves in the net for the Wildcats including 11 in the third period to pick up his 10th win of the season (10-10-2). Cole Huggins took the loss for Minnesota State falling to 10-7-0.

NMU and Minnesota State will complete their WCHA series on Saturday at the Berry Events Center. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m.