NMU hockey: Wildcats tie No. 6-ranked Ferris State 1-1

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University hockey team was unable to take advantage of a five-minute power play that began in the third period and spanned most of overtime in a 1-1 tie with No. 6 Ferris State in WCHA play on Saturday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.

Bulldogs junior defenseman Jason Binkley was awarded a major and a 10-minute game misconduct for a hard check from behind on NMU junior forward Ryan Daugherty with 31 seconds left in regulation.

The Wildcats finished with just one shot on goal during the advantage, which came from newly promoted alternate captain Ryan Kesti in the third period. Northern failed to put a shot on FSU junior goaltender C.J. Motte in overtime, allowing the Bulldogs to extend their unbeaten streak to a nation-best 11 games (9-0-2) while Motte made 23 saves to improve to 11-0-2 in his 13 starts.

“We had a way different lineup tonight, so we had to shorten the bench,” NMU head coach Walt Kyle said, referencing the absence of senior defenseman C.J. Ludwig (knee injury) and junior forward Reed Seckel (one-game suspension for fighting). “We had a lot of guys getting those special (teams) minutes at the end who were tired. The reality was they were just fatigued, tired and weren’t able to be as sharp as they needed to be.”

Both teams scored their lone goal on the power play in the second period.

Ferris went up 1-0 via sophomore forward Matt Robertson’s sixth goal of the year at the 9:50 mark with assists from freshman forward Kyle Schempp and sophomore defenseman Brandon Alselmini.

NMU senior forward Jake Johnson tied the game with his second goal of the year at 14:17 of the second by deflecting a blue-line blast from freshman Dominik Shine. Freshman forward Sami Salminen also assisted on the play.

Northern finished 1 for 6 on the man advantage Saturday, which was missing it’s point-man in Ludwig.

The ‘Cats captain not only led the team in power play points with four goals and five assists, he was also tied atop the WCHA in PP points going into the weekend.

“It would have been nice to have him, but (Brock Maschmeyer) is pretty good up there too and so is (Mitch Jones) and (Luke Eibler),” said NMU senior forward Stephan Vigier, who has six power play goals and two power play points. “It hurts not having Ludwig. He’s our leader and our captain and probably one of our best defensemen. We have guys who can play up there and do a good job.”

After getting pulled from Friday’s 4-1 loss early in the third period, NMU redshirt freshman goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom made 20 saves on Saturday against the Bulldogs, who entered the weekend as the league’s top scoring offense, averaging 3.92 goals per game.

NMU was the WCHA’s top scoring defense going into the series, giving up a league-low 2.33 goals per game.

“I thought it was a hard effort,” Kyle said. “I was real happy with the guys. I think it was a good bounce-back game from last night. I think we played much more the way we wanted to play. Defensively I thought we were good, Mathias was good.”