BEMIDJI, Minn. — The Northern Michigan University hockey team opened their final true road series of the regular season with a convincing 5-1 victory over 17th-ranked Bemidji State University, Friday evening.
Five Wildcat skaters lit the lamp in the contest while two Mikey Colella recorded his first career point in the contest, an assist on the first goal of the night.
In a very defensive first period, the Wildcats held the Beavers to just seven shots on net as both teams remained scoreless heading to the locker rooms at the end of 20 minutes.
NMU pressured the Beavers’ zone early in the second period, peppering their netminder with shots before Joseph Nardi broke the stalemate at 1:21 of the frame. His one-timer from the right circle found the back of the net after Mikey Colella picked up the puck behind the net and passed it up to Andre Ghantous out front who found Nardi in the far circle for the 1-0 tally. With the secondary assist on the goal, Colella registered his first collegiate point.
The Wildcats played a large portion of the latter half of the period on the penalty kill as Rico DiMatteo turned shot after shot aside to keep his team up 1-0.
At the end of the second period, shots on goal were tied 14-14 as the Wildcats boasted another 11 shots blocked to help keep the Beavers out of their net.
Holding a narrow 1-0 lead going into the third period, the Wildcats came out full speed ahead and refused to let up in the final frame, netting four goals in the final 20 minutes of action for the 5-1 final.
The Wildcats struck early in the frame, taking advantage of a four-on-four situation when Brandon Schultz found the back of the net for an insurance goal that became the game-winning tally. Shortly after, AJ Vanderbeck struck gold on the power play for a team-best 10th goal of the season.
Ghantous would score the Wildcats first shorthanded goal of the season when his shot from the slot found twine at 13:19 of the final period. Just over a minute later, on the same penalty, Garrett Klee also net a goal of the penalty kill for NMU’s final goal of the night.
DiMatteo’s shutout bid was interrupted with less than five minutes to play when the Beavers scored an even-strength tally at 15:12 of the third period for the 5-1 final.
The Wildcat win snaps the Beavers’ six-game unbeaten streak and moves NMU to 6-11-0 on the season and 4-3-0 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
DiMatteo picked up his second-straight victory between the pipes as the Wildcat newcomer registered 20 saves on the night and improved to 2-0-0 as starter.