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DIII hockey nears 20 straight wins after topping Northwood

Goalie Trevor Whitehead plays during the CMU v Northwood University game Jan 27 at Isabella County Events Center

No. 2 Central Michigan Division III men’s hockey earned its 18th straight win against Northwood Saturday afternoon at the Isabella County Ice Arena. 

CMU won 10-5 and improve to 28-4 (15-4 in the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference), while the Timberwolves sink to 8-10 (6-8 in MCHC) and are on a three-game losing streak.

Securing the win came in the third period for the Chippewas as they did what they do best and kept pushing the puck to score and win graduate forward Nathan Allgaier said.

“We know that no team can play with us for all three periods,” he said. “We do have to get better for the first two, especially if we want to make a serious run for the championship, but we know that we’ll come out in the third and take care of business and that’s what we did tonight.”

Allgaier helped secure the win CMU too after he secured a hat trick in the first and scored again with 4:43 left in the final period.

Junior forward and assistant captain Dalton Sutherland thought Allgaier’s performance was another example of him being the scoring threat he always is.

“He was skating some of the hardest I’ve ever seen him skate,” Sutherland said. “He can score from anywhere, too. Honestly, he’s probably the most gifted scorer in the league. If you give him the puck, he’ll find the net somehow.”

But Allgaier thought he was “just fortunate to be back on the first line with Sutherland and senior forward and assistant captain Ryan Tyrer and be open for scoring opportunities” he said.

“I know where to be after playing with them both over the past couple of years and they know where to find me, so they’ll pass to me in the slot,” Allgaier said. “It’s just great team chemistry and I’m lucky to have that.”

Although Allgaier poured on in the first, the second period was about Northwood as the Timberwolves would push back to get on the board four times.

Northwood scored the first three goals of the middle period when senior forward Codey Mazeau grabbed his 20th of the season with just over 18 minutes to go and sophomore forward Matthew Hensley acquired two goals within a minute of each other at 13:58 and 12:50.

Chippewa sophomore defensemen Brennan Martin gave CMU back the lead when he took the puck coast to coast and scored on a CMU power play to get his 13th of the season with 5:45 left, making the game 4-3.

But Hensley would pick up his hat trick when he would score the last goal of the period for the Timberwolves with 4:20 remaining.

“We fell asleep a little when we were up and started to play complacent which led to Northwood mounting this come back,” Allgaier said. “Luckily we figured it out in the third and we were able to put a couple more up to win.”

And the Chippewas started that by scoring four straight to go up 8-4 over Northwood.

It started with CMU forward Jacob Lancucki landing his first goal as a Chippewa when he scored at the 17:22 mark, followed by senior defensemen Justice Bigelow with his ninth of the season with 15:40 left.

Sophomore forwards Philip Fazio and Garrett Diola grabbed goals after Lancucki with Fazio sending his with just under 14 minutes left and Diola about 20 seconds later.

Northwood would get on the board again when freshman forward Trevor Darling grabbed his seventh of the season as just over five minutes remained in the game.

Sutherland would put the cherry on top for CMU when he scored his 45th of the season with the four-minute mark approaching.

Head coach James Cadzow says the team still needs to work on their defensive skills.

“It made me pissed,” he said. “We were selling out to the shooter when that’s not what we do and all three times we got beat (in the second). I was livid.”

But CMU secured a win for itself and “that’s what’s important.” Cadzow said.

“In the third we dominated by being on their side of the ice and we did what we had to do and we got the win.”