FAIRBANKS - Game one of the series produced nine combined goals and it appeared game two would be much of the same with three goals scored in the opening period, but that would be all the scoring the fans would see as Northern Michigan earned a Western Collegiate Hockey Association split with a 2-1 road win at Alaska Saturday night at the Carlson Center.
CJ Ludwig scored one goal and assisted on another to lead all point getters while Stephan Vigier registered the game winner for the Wildcats (3-5-0, 2-2-0 WCHA). Mathias Dahlstrom earned the win in net for NMU as he improved to 2-2-0 after making 22 saves on 23 shots faced.
Sophomore center Tyler Morley (Burnaby, British Columbia/Business Administration) was the lone goal scorer for the Nanooks (4-2-2, 1-1-0 WCHA) as he found the net for the third straight game. Rookie netminder Davis Jones (St. Albert, Alberta/Elementary Education) took the loss in between the pipes, dropping to 2-1-1 on the year after making 28 saves on 30 shots on goal.
Northern outshot Alaska 30-23 on the night but the 'Nooks held a 23-11 advantage in blocks, including a game-high seven by senior defenseman Michael Quinn (Surrey, British Columbia/Geography), which tied Alaska's individual season high. Alaska also won 33 of face-offs on the night.
The 'Cats only went 1-for-7 on the power play but successfully killed off all four of the Nanooks' man-advantage opportunities.
Morley opened the scoring just 1:49 into the first period with a 4-on-4 tally. He collected the puck in the offensive zone on a turnover and dished it to junior left wing Garrick Perry (Apple Valley, Minn./Communication). Perry took a backhand shot in front but it was saved by Dahlstrom but Morley was there to push it past the goal line for the 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats answered at 15:57 with a goal by Ludwig. Upon receiving the puck at the right point, Ludwig inched forward and fired a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that got past Jones for the game-tying score.
With time winding down in the opening period, NMU went ahead at 2-1 with 22 seconds left on the clock. Jones made the initial pad save on a Wildcat slap shot but Vigier took the rebound and blasted it in the back of the net and that would prove to be the game winner.
Alaska will head to the Upper Peninsula next week for its first true road trip of the season. The Nanooks will travel to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to face No. 12/13 Lake Superior State, Nov. 8-9. The Lakers have yet to play a WCHA game and will bring in a 4-1-1 record following a tie and loss to Wisconsin this weekend.
Tyler Morley scored his fourth goal of the season 1:49 into the game and that marked the third straight game he has scored for the Nanooks.
Alaska leaves this weekend with a 4-0-0 record on Fridays but it has yet to win on Saturday nights, with an 0-2-2 record. The loss tonight was the first in six games for the 'Nooks.
Michael Quinn tied the Nanooks' season-best blocks total with seven, matching sophomore Josh Atkinson, who had seven against Mercyhurst on Oct. 26.