BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) - Northern Michigan University used a three-goal second period to erase an early deficit, gain control of play and earn a 4-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association series-opening victory over Bemidji State University Friday at Sanford Center.
Darren Nowick scored a goal while contributing on another to lead an NMU attack that recorded four goals and went 2-for-5 on the man advantage.
The loss was the second straight for the Beavers and kept the team without a victory in its last seven outings (0-3-4)-a streak that reaches back to Nov. 23.
After struggling to get out of the blocks during the first half of the season, BSU set its sights on opening the series with a good first period and it did just that.
It took the Beavers just 2:51 to get on the scoreboard. Sophomore defender Graeme McCormack (So., Thunder Bay, Ontario) corralled a loose puck off the half wall and found Nate Arentz (Fr., F, Lakeville, Minn.) entering BSU's offensive zone. In his return to the lineup after missing 15 games due to injury, the sophomore from Lakeville, Minn. tucked a wrist shot from the left circle just inside the right post.
Aided by a pair of power-play opportunities, the Beavers took a 10-7 edge in shots on goal into the locker room at the conclusion of the first period gripping a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately for Bemidji State, that was the extent the Beavers' offense as the squad went 0-for-3 on the man advantage and failed to find the back of the net again on the evening.
NMU opened the second period with a flurry. The Wildcats popped three goals during the first 7:11 and would not look back.
Darren Nowick tied the game 1:34 into the frame skating around the back of the net before tucking the puck inside the left post for his second goal of the season. Ryan Daugherty was credited with an assist on the goal.
With Mitch Cain (Jr., F, Fort Frances, Ontario) in the penalty box for hitting from behind, the Wildcats would take their first lead of the night when Shane Sooth redirected a Stephan Vigier shot past BSU goaltender Jesse Wilkins (Fr., Calgary, Alberta).
Sixteen seconds later, NMU stretched its lead to two goals on Sami Salminen's second goal of 2013-14. Cohen Adair fired a shot from the point that when wide of the net and deflected off the end wall to the front to the crease where Salminen potted his second goal of the season.
The Wildcats' third goal spelled the end of the night for Wilkins who exited after 27:27 of play. The freshman recorded 15 saves, while surrendering three NMU goals. As the goaltender of record, he dips to 0-1-3 on the year.
NMU posted its fourth and final goal at the 10:15 mark of the third. John Siemer found Reed Seckle with a centering pass and Seckle's shot from the top of the crease trickled through the pads of the new BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh (Jr., Dawson Creek, British Columbia) for Northern Michigan's second power-play goal.
Walsh finished the night allowing one goal, while posting seven saves in 32:32 of action in relief of Wilkins.
The Beavers (5-10-6; 5-6-4 WCHA) and Wildcats (7-10-2; 5-5-1 WCHA) will wrap up their league series tomorrow. The opening faceoff is set for 7:07 p.m. from Sanford Center. Following the game, Beaver Hockey fans are encouraged to bring their skates and stick around to "Skate with the Beavers" for a chance to hit the Sanford Center ice, meet BSU hockey players, Bucky the Beaver and BSU cheerleaders.