NMU blanks Badgers in season opener

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team picked up an opening night win with a shutout victory, 2-0, over No. 18-ranked Wisconsin Friday night at the Resch Center in Green Bay with a crowd of 3,526 on hand.

It was opening night for the Wildcats while Wisconsin has now lost third-straight to begin the season.

“Going into tonight’s game I was a worried because they (Wisconsin) had games under their belt and we didn’t,” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle. “I expected that we would make some first game mistakes, which we did early, but the guys played through it and they played hard.”

Sophomore forward Dominik Shine  lit the lamp for the first Northern Michigan goal of the season. Shine took a pass from fellow sophomore forward Shane Sooth off a power play win and banged a wrister off the right post that found the back of the net to give Northern Michigan the 1-0 lead with 10:33 in the period.

Shortly after, the Wildcats took advantage of their first power play opportunity when junior forward Darren Nowick took a pass from behind the net and one-timed it to beat the goalie and extend the NMU lead to 2-0. Sophomore forwards Gerard Hanson and John Siemer each recorded assists on the goal for their first points of the season. The Wildcats pressure continued and with the end of the period Northern Michigan held a two goal advantage.

Northern Michigan was able to out-shoot Wisconsin by a slim 10-7 margin in the opening period.

The NMU penalty kill was on point in the second period as they were able to fight off a pair of Badger power plays to open the period. Despite not scoring, Wisconsin was able to use the power plays to build some offensive continuity. This Badger momentum shifted to Northern Michigan’s side in the second half of the period when NMU was given a pair of power play opportunities. The Wildcats provided a good push in the power plays but were unable to find the back of the net leading to a scoreless second period.

The Wildcats were able to put more shots on goal in the second period as well and after two periods held a 20-13 advantage in the category.

The NMU penalty kill continued their strong play in the final period as they held Wisconsin to one shot on two Badger power plays. The defenses continued to pack it in inside their zone and were able to keep Wisconsin off the board giving NMU the 2-0 victory.

The Wildcats finished the game 1-3 on the power play, where the penalty kill blanked the Badgers at 0-5 on man-advantages. Northern Michigan also held a 28-18 advantage in shots on goal for the game.

Sophomore goalie Mathias Dahlstrom earned his fourth career shutout making 18 saves on the night.

“Mathias is an exceptional goalie. He played well and in this type of game that isn’t easy,” said Kyle. “The team protected him well, so he didn’t get pounded, but when he had saves they were big saves.”

Northern Michigan finishes their series with Wisconsin tomorrow night, Saturday, Oct. 18 with puck drop scheduled for 8:07 p.m. (EST).

(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)