A roller-coaster of emotions ends up on the joyful side as the Chargers took two WCHA points from Northern Michigan following a 2-2 tie at the Von Braun Center on Friday.
NMU had tied the game with 5:34 remaining in regulation, and had won the game in overtime before video review overruled the goal because of goaltender interference.
Cam Knight scored just 36 seconds into the 3-on-3 second overtime, which gave the Chargers the second WCHA point. UAH had to withstand its own video review before it was finally confirmed.
The Chargers (6-23-2 overall, 6-15-2-2 WCHA) needed the points to enhance their WCHA playoff chances. With Ferris State getting just one point after its tie with Bemidji State, UAH increased its hold of the eighth and final playoff berth to eight points over FSU. UAH also pulled within four points of Alaska, which lost to Alaska Anchorage, for seventh.
For Northern Michigan (14-13-1, 13-7-1-0), its single point moved the Wildcats to within one point of third-place Lake Superior State.
Game two of the series and the final UAH home game of the season is Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The eight Charger seniors will be honored before the game.
The whole game was one of highs and lows.
Plenty of up-and-down action in the first period, although it did not lead to any scoring. The Wildcats outshot the Chargers 8-6 in the frame.
Scoring did start frantically in the second period, with the Chargers putting two up quickly.
At the 1:44 mark, Jack Jeffers drove up the left side and beat Atte Tolvanen to put UAH up 1-0. It was the seventh goal of the season for the freshman, and Hans Gorowsky had the assist.
Gorowsky had a hand on UAH’s second goal at 4:05. He and Brandon Salerno had a two-on-none, and Salerno finished off the give-and-go for his fifth goal of the season. Bailey Newton got his first assist.
Northern Michigan got on the board right after a Jeffers hooking penalty. Troy Loggins notched his 13th goal of the season on a one-timer to cut UAH’s lead to 2-1 at 5:12.
NMU had another power play almost immediately afterward, and the Wildcats at least used that time to test Sinclair with lots of rubber. NMU had 12 shots on goal within the first eight minutes of the second period, and 20 for the whole frame.
A scary moment for the Wildcats came with 5:45 left in the second when Tolvanen, who has started all 28 games this season, had to be tended to after Andrew Dodson collided with him. Dodson received a minor penalty for charging, but the Chargers were able to kill it.
UAH had a chance to put it away about halfway through the third period when back-to-back penalties by Loggins and Griffin Loughran gave the Chargers a two-man advantage for 1:48.
But Tolvanen (22 saves) came up big, making a glove save on Bauer Neudecker and covering up another possible Jeffers goal.
The Wildcats killed the penalties, then capitalized on Tyr Thompson’s hooking call with 5:34 left in regulation with a power play goal by Ty Readman.
In the regular 5-on-5 overtime, both teams had big chances with under two minutes to go. Joseph Nardi missed high on a breakaway with 1:40 left, and Tolvanen stopped Gorowsky 20 seconds later.
Adam Rockwood appeared to have scored to snatch victory from the Chargers with 26 seconds remaining in overtime, but the officials determined after video review that there was a Wildcat in the crease causing interference, and the goal was overturned.
The overtime ended to officially make it a 2-2 draw, and with renewed life the Chargers made it count. Cam Knight beat Tolvanen on a breakaway just 36 seconds in to give UAH two of the three league points.
UAH goaltender Mark Sinclair finished with 41 saves, the third 40-plus-save outing of the season.
Three stars of the game:
1. Cam Knight, UAH (3-on-3 OT goal)
2. Hans Gorowsky, UAH (2 assists)
3. Mark Sinclair, UAH (41 saves)
File photo of Cam Knight by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography