NMU hockey: Freshmen lead Wildcats to 4-1 victory in Bemidji

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Two Northern Michigan University freshman forwards scored 16 seconds apart in the second period to lead the Wildcats to a 4-1 victory over Bemidji State in WCHA play on Friday at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn.

“We’ve been mentally fragile this season,” NMU head coach Walt Kyle said in an interview with Jack Hittinger of the Bemidji Pioneer. “This was an important game for us. We finally got our feet under us in the second. We got that early goal and that was real important for us to get our motor going.”

Shane Sooth scored his third goal of the year at 7:11 of the second period on the power play and Sami Salminen of Finland recorded his second goal of the year at 7:27 to give NMU a 3-1 lead.

Wildcats sophomore forward Darren Nowick tied the game, 1-1, 1:34 into the second period with his second goal of the season and junior forward Reed Seckel added a power play goal – his sixth of the season – at the 10:15 mark of the third to ensure the Wildcats would snap their six-game winless streak.

Meanwhile, the Beavers remained winless in seven games despite taking a 1-0 lead 2:51 into the game on a goal by Nate Arentz.

“We’re a team that hasn’t had a lot of offense,” Kyle said to the Pioneer. “We’ve been waiting for some guys to come into out lineup and have been a little battered. We got (Erik) Higby back from injury, then we added (John) Siemer and (Gerard) Hanson. All those guys were important guys tonight … maybe not on the scoresheet, but that allowed us to create some chemistry from our lines that I could really see. We got two power play goals tonight, but I thought in general our lines were very balanced.”

Seven different Wildcats also had assists in the win, including Nowick, junior forward Ryan Daugherty, senior forward Stephan Vigier, freshman defenseman Brock Maschmeyer, sophomore forward Cohen Adair, junior defenseman Luke Eibler and freshman forward John Siemer.

NMU redshirt freshman goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom made 28 saves while BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh stopped 15 of 16 shots in relief of starting goaltender Jesse Wilkins, who gave up three goals on 13 shots in 27 minutes and 27 seconds of work.

“The second period we just didn’t have it,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said to the Pioneer. “They (Northern Michigan) really came into their own in the second period and we were just doing a lot of chasing.”

“Our clears weren’t very good. They hemmed us in. Give all the credit to them, they played with a lot of intensity and had good puck possession.”

NOTES: Siemer’s assist was his first collegiate point in his second collegiate game at NMU after sitting out the first semester. NMU freshman forward Gerard Hanson, who also sat out the first semester, made his debut with the Wildcats on Friday. He was credited with one shot on goal. NMU senior forward Erik Higby played his first game since Nov. 22 when he injured his wrist. Wilkins had made only three starts for the Beavers prior to Friday with all three ending as ties. NMU finished 2 for 5 on the power play while killing all three BSU power plays. Shots were even 29-29, though BSU outshot NMU in the first and third periods.