Despite a large advantage in shots and power play chances, Western Michigan couldn't prevent a 3-2 setback to Northern Michigan in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action from the Berry Events Center. The Broncos are now 1-10-1 in Marquette since the 1997-98 season.
WMU out-shot WMU, 32-18 ? marking the first time in five games the Broncos held the upper hand in that category. Senior G Craig Kowalski was up to the task, making 30 saves in the Wildcat goal. WMU was also presented with a season-high nine power play opportunities (to Northern's five), but capitalized just once on Paul Szczechura's 11th marker of the season.
Szczechura later added his second goal of the night with 2:19 remaining.
Freshman Darin Olver scored twice for NMU as well, raising his team-best goal total to 11. He also leads the team in scoring. Patrick Murphy provided the other Northern goal just 2:05 into the opening period.
"I thought we played well enough to win, the effort was certainly there," said WMU coach Jim Culhane. "The difference tonight was the play of their goaltender Craig Kowalski. Obviously we have had a tough time winning up here the past few years and on a few occasions it's been because of the same reason ? their goaltending."
The teams conclude their weekend series tomorrow night at the Berry Events Center (7:35 p.m. faceoff).
NOTES: Northern Michigan has won five straight in the series ... WMU is now 5-for-51 on the power play over a 12-game stretch ... Szczechura had been held pointless in five games leading up to tonight's contest.
1st, 2:05, NMU ? From the left corner, Ciancio centers a pass to Murphy for a one-timer.
1st, 9:48, NMU (SH) ? Olver splits three Broncos to break in alone on Foster and scores on a wrister over the shoulder.
1st, 15:15, WMU (PP) ? A Wildcat turnover leaves Szczechura alone with the puck in front of Kowalski; Szczechura tucks a shot under the crossbar.
2nd, 4:11, NMU ? Olver cuts across the crease and when Foster goes down, finds an upper corner of the net.
3rd, 17:41, WMU ? Szczechura jams home a rebound in front of
Wildcats Put Shots to Good Use
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