|1st||10:33||NMU||1-0||EV||Robbie Payne (10)||Joseph Nardi/3|
|1st||15:25||AKF||1-1||EV||Tyler Cline (1)||Zach Frye/4, Anton Martinsson/1|
|1st||16:56||NMU||2-1||PP||Adam Rockwood (1)||Philip Beaulieu/5, Darien Craighead/5|
|2nd||4:46||AKF||2-2||EV||Ross Heidt (4)||Nikolas Koberstein/3, Justin Young/4|
|2nd||5:24||NMU||3-2||EV||Robbie Payne (11)||Darien Craighead/6, Joseph Nardi/4|
|2nd||8:30||NMU||4-2||EV GW||Darien Craighead (4)||Jordan Klimek/3, Connor Frantti/1|
|2nd||11:55||NMU||5-2||PP||Robbie Payne (12)||Philip Beaulieu/6, Adam Rockwood/6|
|3rd||4:19||AKF||3-5||EV||Colton Leiter (3)||Kylar Hope/6, Zach Frye/5|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Northern Michigan (7-4-0)||2/4||4/8||0|
|Northern Michigan Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Atte Tolvanen (W, 6-3-0)||60:00||3||3||13||16||32|
|Anton Martinsson (L, 3-8-2)||32:17||5||13||3||0||16|
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team came up short against the No. 20th-ranked team in the nation on Friday night, as the Nooks fell 5-3 to the Northern Michigan University Wildcats in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association contest at the Carlson Center. The loss drops the Nanooks' overall record to 3-8-2 and 1-5-1-1 in conference play, while the Wildcats improve to 7-4-0 overall and 5-2-0-0 in WCHA matchups.
"We didn't come out in the first period ready to play," head coach Lance West said on Friday. "It's frustrating and disappointing, especially to the fans and families that came out tonight. Mentally, I don't think we were ready. We can look at the last two periods and say we battled but it's still not good enough, nor is it acceptable to come out like that in the first period at home when you need points."
Northern Michigan's Robbie Payne opened up the scoring on Friday night, tallying his 10th goal of the season at the 10:33 mark of the first period. Payne's centerman Joseph Nardi won a face-off in the Alaska defensive zone directly to Payne, whose quick shot caught Alaska sophomore goaltender Anton Martinsson off his angle to make it a 1-0 game.
After missing nine games due to injury, sophomore forward Tyler Cline returned to the lineup and tied the game at the 15:25 mark of the first period. Cline received a stretch pass from senior defenseman Zach Frye in the neutral zone, which sent the Blaine, Minnesota native on a breakaway against NMU's netminder Ante Tolvanen. Cline's low blocker shot marks his first goal of the season with Frye and goaltender Martinsson earning assists on the play. Martinsson becomes the sixth goaltender in the WCHA to earn an assist this season.
Before the first period was able to expire, NMU took the lead once more, as Adam Rockwood tallied a power play goal less than a minute later (16:56) to make it 2-1 going into intermission. Rockwood's first goal of the season was assisted by Troy Loggins and Philip Beaulieu.
The second period looked as though it were going in favor of the Nanooks, as sophomore forward Ross Heidt earned his fourth goal of the season at the 4:46 mark. Heidt's forecheck forced the Northern Michigan defensemen to back into their zone on the regroup before Heidt was able to force a turnover, which was kicked to rookie forward Justin Young. Young passed the puck up the wall to junior defenseman Nikolas Koberstein, whose shot just caught the stick of Heidt in the slot to tie the game at 2-2.
Unfortunately for Alaska, Northern Michigan registered three more goals in the second period with Payne responsible for two of the three, giving him the hat trick before 40 minutes even expired. Payne scored an even-strength goal at the 5:24 mark before teammate Darien Craighead tallied another even-strength goal at the 8:30 mark. Payne gave the Wildcats a 5-2 lead with NMU's second power play goal of the night at the 11:55 mark.
Alaska had their opportunities in the third period, including a 5-on-3 power play but only gained one goal by sophomore forward Colton Leiter at the 4:19 mark. Leiter batted in a rebound from sophomore forward Kylar Hope's shot to earn his third goal of the season. Leiter's even-strength tally puts him and Hope on a two-game point streak, while Frye earned his second assist of the night.
Martinsson appeared in net for 32:17 of Friday's game, posting 16 saves including 13 in the first period alone before being relieved in the second period. Sophomore goaltender Niko DellaMaggiore made his official NCAA debut on Friday, recording a combined 10 saves in the second and third periods. On the other end of the ice, NMU's Tolvanen collected 32 saves against the Nanooks, including double-digit saves in the second and third periods.
"I thought Niko did a fantastic job tonight," West said of DellaMaggiore. "He goes in and gave us a chance to come back and played well for the situation he was thrown into. We can't ask for anymore from him, I thought he did a great job and if we had a player of the game tonight, it was him."
After only totaling four shots on goal in the first period, Alaska combined for 14 in the second and 17 in the third to outshoot their opponent 35-31. On the special teams side, Alaska went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage while Northern Michigan went 2-for-4 on the night.
"As I said afterwards, the moral victories and the battles don't mean anything to me right now, we have to show up to play 60 minutes of hockey and we didn't do that tonight," West concluded. "I'm as accountable for that as anybody but we need to see who is going to show up tomorrow and play a full 60-minute game. Our backs are against the wall and we're going to come out and be a desperate team tomorrow night."
The Nanooks will take on the Northern Michigan once more throughout the weekend, as they host the Wildcats again tomorrow (Saturday), Nov. 18 in another WCHA contest at the Carlson Center. Puck-drop is slated for 7:07pm AKST.