HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team exercised a few demons in Houghton on Saturday. It was NMU’s first win at MacInnes in nearly three years. It was also their first win since Nov. 29 at Alaska.
The Wildcats skated out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play thanks to goals from Robbie Payne and Luke Eibler. The second period belonged to Michigan Tech.
The Huskies scored four goals in that period to take a 4-3 lead. Mitch Jones scored the final two goals of the game– one in the third and one in overtime, giving NMU the win and three conference points on the weekend.
“It was a good feeling, but it was very, very much a Tech vs. Northern game,” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle after Saturday’s contest. “It seems like every time we get up, they score in flurries on us. They had a great second period. The thing I was really happy with was we lose a two–goal lead after one and we were able to comeback in the third, tie it, and win it in overtime. I’m proud of that effort and I’m proud of the guys being resilient and staying focused.”
“It was a pretty bang, bang play,” said Mitch Jones about his game–winning goal in overtime. “I got a good pass up to the point from (Darren) Nowick, I heard someone yell ‘shoot!’, so I took a look at the net and just ripped one.
“It was an up and down game. The big crowd helped it,” added Jones. “We had the lead, then we were down, then we pulled ahead at the end. Hopefully it’s a stepping stone for a little bit of a win streak here.”
“I give our team credit. We hung in there, got down, dug ourselves out of a hole,” said Huskies head coach Mel Pearson. “We can’t continue to do that. You’re not going to beat many teams when you give five goals up at home. We have to get back to doing things that made us successful, especially in the first half of the year.”
“I think we’re doing a lot of good things right now,” said Huskies forward Tanner Kero. “We just have to tighten up a little bit in our defensive zone, do a better job of blocking shots and bailing our goalies out.”
Michigan Tech will look to get back on track this week against the red–hot Bowling Green State Falcons, while NMU heads south to Alabama–Huntsville for two games against the Chargers.