Call 9-1-1: The Cardinals are on fire.
The SVSU club hockey team continued its hot start with a 5-2 win over Northwood on Friday night at the Saginaw Bay Ice Arena.
With a 9-1-1 record, SVSU is in third place in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s North division.
While the score was close throughout Friday’s game, SVSU took the lead early and didn’t let Northwood tie again.
SVSU started off the night strong when senior forward Ben Welch put the puck in the back of the net with 7:50 left in the first period, making the score 1-0.
After a scoreless 13 minutes of back and forth play, Welch answered his own goal by scoring in a power play with 14:44 left in the second period.
Once the Timberwolves had their full lineup back in the game, they scored with only a few minutes left in the second period, making the score 2-1 going into the break.
The Cardinals came back from the break ready to play. Within the first minute of the third period, defenseman Mike McFarland, a Bay City native, scored to put the Cardinals up 3-1.
The Timberwolves answered McFarland’s goal with 12:09 left in the game before freshmen forward Dylan Welch scored with 6:39 left in the third period with assists from Ben Walkowiak and Ben Welch.
This goal was followed up when SVSU defenseman Steve Hamilton scored with 3:20 left in the period with assists from Dylan Welch and Jon Tibaudo.
Hamilton’s goal was followed up by an unusual penalty when Northwood’s goalie threw the puck into the crowd.
Another highlight of the game was a key play made by SVSU junior goalie Joey Kirkland. Among his 24 saves on Friday night, Kirkland made a stop to a 3 on 0 break away from Northwood that would have tied the game.
“We came back out and were able to get a couple [goals] back,” Kirkland said. “Not giving up anything else in goal, being able to shut them down, and get goals when we needed to.”
Plays like this coupled with a lot of practice has helped the Cardinals to achieve its record.
“We practice hard. We come in at about 5:45 in the morning to do ropes and ladders and stuff like that off ice before practice,” Hamilton said.
The team hopes that this success will continue as its season nears the league tournament and nationals.
“We would like to win our MCHC league; that’s our league tournament,” Hamilton said. “We would also like to go to nationals, which are in New Jersey this year, and obviously win that, too.”