MARQUETTE, Mich. — UNO played with fire Friday.
Saturday night, the Mavericks got burned.
UNO killed off seven of eight power plays, including four in the third period, to win the series opener with Northern Michigan. One day later, the Wildcats scored three second-period power-play goals in the series finale to break a 1-1 tie for a 6-3 victory in front of 2,134 at Berry Events Center. They finished with four man-advantage scores overall.
“Too many penalties — on both sides — there was just no flow to the game at all,” UNO coach Dean Blais said. “You’ve got to credit Northern Michigan for scoring on the power plays it had. It was a frustrating night to be on the bench and a frustrating night to be playing.”
Northern Michigan (1-3-0) converted on four of its 10 power plays Saturday to finish 5 for 18 for the weekend. It was the first time UNO (2-2-0) had tried to kill off more than eight penalties in a game since Dec. 18, 2010, when Colorado College got 11 chances.
“Eight (power plays) Friday, plus the travel (by bus to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), I think it wore us down,” Blais said. “You don’t want to have an excuse for losing, but there was just too much time spent on the ice by too few players. And it wasn’t a cheap game. It was hard-fought, but it wasn’t cheap.”
The Mavs were 2 for 9 on the power play Saturday and 3 for 13 for the weekend.
UNO cut its deficit to 5-3 on Dominic Zombo’s short-handed breakaway goal with 9:03 left, but yielded the clinching empty-netter by Erik Higby with 1:46 to go.
Defenseman Mitch Jones’ slap slot eventually found its way into the net at the 7:31 mark of the second period to break the 1-1 tie. The goal was upheld after video review for a potential crease violation.
Then the Wildcats went on a 5-on-3 power play and scored twice — first by CJ Ludwig seconds after the two-man advantage began on a shot from the high slot, and then Stephan Vigier on a rebound of Ludwig’s slap shot 1:09 later with a 5-on-4 advantage. There were 11 penalties in the second period, eight on UNO.
After winning his second straight start Friday, freshman Kirk Thompson (2-1-0) was back in goal for the Mavericks. He made 20 saves.
“I don’t think he saw two of the goals,” Blais said. “After the first period, tied 1-1, I was pretty comfortable and feeling like we’d probably win the game. We had good jump, but then we got into all the penalties.”
Jake Johnson had given the Wildcats the lead 2:39 into the game with his first goal of the season on a wraparound pass from DJ Vandercook.
But the Mavs tied it at 19:38 of the period on a power play as Josh Archibald scored his third goal of the season on assists from defenseman Ian Brady and linemate Zombo.
Blais reunited Ryan Walters, Archibald and Zombo on the same line — all three had a goal and an assist. He also had an all-senior line of Brock Montpetit, Zahn Raubenheimer and Johnnie Searfoss and an all-freshman line of Jake Guentzel, Justin Parizek and Austin Ortega.
“When there are that many (special-teams shifts), your fifth and sixth defensemen and your fourth (forward) line barely play — they were out there for just a couple of shifts each period,” Blais said. “When it was 5-on-5, we were doing pretty well.”
UNO (2-2-0) ............................ 1 1 1—3
At Northern Michigan (1-3-0) ............................ 1 3 2—6
First period: 1, NMU, Johnson 1 (Vandercook, Baker), 2:39. 2, Archibald 3 (Brady, Zombo), 19:38 (pp).
Second period: 3, NMU, Jones 1 (Eibler, Vigier), 7:31 (pp). 4, NMU, Ludwig 2 (Jones, Sooth), 11:54 (pp, 5on3). 5, NMU, Vigier 3 (Ludwig, Sooth), 13:03 (pp). 6, UNO, Walters 2 (Archibald, Brady), 16:15 (pp, 5on3).
Third period: 7, NMU, Maschmeyer 1 (Kaib, Nowick), 7:49 (pp). 8, UNO, Zombo 2 (Walters), 10:57 (sh). 9, NMU, Higby 1 (Vigier), 18:14 (en).
Shots on goal:
UNO ............................ 13 6 3—22
NMU ............................ 9 11 6—26
Power plays: UNO 2-9, NMU 4-10.
Penalties-minutes: UNO 12-32, NMU 10-20.
Goalies: UNO, Thompson 2-1-0 (25 shots, 20 saves, 58:17). NMU, Doan 1-1-0 (22 shots, 19 saves, 60:00).