Northern Michigan hockey team suffers historic sweep to Nanooks in Alaska

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University hockey team was swept by the Alaska Nanooks for only the second time in program history and first time since January of 2004 via a 4-2 loss on Saturday at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.

NMU sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead 1:34 into the game before the Nanooks scored four unanswered goals with two coming from Colton Beck.

Beck tied the game 15:35 into the first period and added a third goal for the Nanooks 10:20 into the second period.

Tyler Morley scored his ninth goal of the season 5:06 into the second to give Alaska a 2-1 lead and Colton Parayko put NMU down 4-1 with a power play goal 11:51 into the second period.

Parayko’s goal came on a two-man advantage with NMU junior forward Erik Higby tossed from the game via a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct. Less than a minute into Higby’s major, NMU junior defenseman Wade Epp was called for high sticking.

Northern, which killed five of six Nanook power plays, was whistled for seven penalties on Saturday totaling 27 minutes, compared to Friday when NMU drew five penalties for 10 minutes.

“(Alaska) played great and forced us in turning pucks over. They did a great job against us,” NMU head coach Walt Kyle said to Danny Martin of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner while watching video of Saturday’s game.

“We got outplayed all weekend and we took a ton of stupid penalties. We’ve got to be better disciplined than that, and we just have to look to see where we are.”

NMU senior defenseman and captain Scott Macaulay cut the Nanook lead in half 13:44 into the second period with a shorthanded goal, assisted by senior forward Matt Thurber.

NMU junior goaltender Jared Coreau was pulled following the Parayko power-play goal. He finished with 15 saves. Freshman Michael Doan stopped all 18 shots he faced over the final 27 minutes in relief.

The Wildcats remained in eighth place in the CCHA despite being swept due to both Bowling Green State and Michigan getting swept. Michigan State split with Penn State in nonconference play.

Alaska, which has won six straight and is unbeaten in seven games, moved into a tie for fourth place with Ferris State.

The Wildcats have the week off before hosting the Bulldogs Feb. 8-9 at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.