MARQUETTE, Mich. — Robbie Payne scored two goals Friday as the Northern Michigan Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in a best-of-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association semifinal series with a 6-1 victory against the Bowling Green State University Falcons at the Berry Events Center.
The 19th-ranked Wildcats (24-13-3) also got a goal and an assist from Troy Loggins and Philip Beaulieu, and got goals from Anthony Paskaruk and Michael Slattery.
Bowling Green's Max Johnson, pictured in a game earlier this season, scored the only goal for the Falcons Friday in a 6-1 playoff loss to Northern Michigan.
Blade/Kurt Steiss Enlarge
The 17th-ranked Falcons (22-11-6) got their only goal from Max Johnson.
The two teams will play Game 2 at 7:07 p.m. Saturday.
Johnson got Bowling Green going just 1 minute, 49 seconds into the game with his 12th of the season, with the man advantage, on assists by Stephen Baylis and Alec Rauhauser.
However, Loggins got the equalizer at the 14:30 mark of the first on assists by Adam Rockwood and Denver Pierce on the power play.
It stayed that way until the second, when Northern Michigan rattled off three goals to take a 4-1 lead.
Payne got his first of the contest with 17:40 left in the period, as Rockwood and Beaulieu had the assists on the power-play goal. The Wildcats made it 3-1 at the 9:17 mark, when Beaulieu tallied his 11th of the season, on assists by Loggins and Jordan Klimek. Northern Michigan made it a three-goal advantage just 27 seconds later, when Paskaruk tallied his first of the season off a pass from Demico Hannoun.
The Wildcats closed it out with two goals in the third. Slattery converted for the fourth time this season off an assist from Darien Craighead with 9::32 left in regulation. Then Payne scored his 23rd goal of the season off an assist from Zach Diamantoni at the 16:55 mark.
Alte Tolvanen stopped 19 shots for Northern Michigan to improve to 22-8-1. Ryan Bednard had 23 saves for the Falcons to fall to 14-7-4.
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