Northern Michigan scored four goals in the first 8:50 and cruised to a 7-1 win over UAH in game one of the WCHA quarterfinals Friday in Marquette, Mich.
UAH (11-22-2) will need to regroup and start fresh Saturday to avoid elimination in the best-of-3 series. But the Chargers will need to find some offense after being outshot 39-14.
They will have to do it without senior forward Brennan Saulnier, who got his fourth game misconduct of the season for verbal abuse of officials in the second period. By NCAA rule, he will sit out Saturday, and perhaps more games if the WCHA suspends him further and UAH extends the series.
Northern Michigan, ranked 19th in the USCHO poll and the second seed of the WCHA playoffs, improved to 22-12-3.
The first nine minutes was nightmarish for the Chargers, and the game was decided then.
UAH had the first power play at the 1:34 mark, but gave up a shorthanded goal at 1:59 when Troy Loggins had a steal and scored on a give-and-go with Adam Rockwood.
This appeared to throw the Chargers out of whack, and the game quickly got away from them.
It became 2-0 NMU when Demico Hannoun took a feed and beat Charger goaltender Jordan Uhelski from the low left circle, just 4:47 in.
It became 3-0 NMU when Robbie Payne had an easy empty net just 48 seconds later.
It became 4-0 NMU when Denver Pierce took a Philip Beaulieu backhanded pass to another open goal at the 8:50 mark.
An angry Uhelski, making only four saves on eight shots, was pulled for freshman Mark Sinclair.
Sinclair was solid in relief. He made 28 saves on 31 shots, including 15 of 16 in the second period.
Late in the second, Brennan Saulnier collided with Pierce, and both were slow to get up. Saulnier was assessed an interference penalty.
NMU answered on the power play with 2:41 left in the second, and it was Pierce scoring with a quick snipe from the slot to make it 5-0 Wildcats.
Saulnier got a cross-checking penalty with 2:32 remaining in the period. He took exception with the officials, and some words got him another misconduct penalty, and then a game misconduct and ejected.
In a very chippy third period, Philip Beaulieu made it 6-0 with 13:09 left. Then Payne scored his second of the game 29 seconds later to make it 7-0.
UAH finally got on the board on the power play with 1:02 to go, as Brandon Parker blasts one from inside the blue line for his first goal of the season and the Chargers’ first ever in a WCHA playoff game.
Madison Dunn and Josh Kestner got the assists.