ASHWAUBENON, Wis. - Northern Michigan University sophomore Reed Seckel, a returning first-liner, scored one goal.
Freshman Cohen Adair, playing in his first regular season college hockey game, added another.
And on the opposite end of the ice in goal, junior goaltender Jared Coreau made big save, after big save, after big save, from start to finish to secure a tight victory late.
It's just as the Wildcats envisioned it, right?
"There are going to be nights we score goals," NMU head coach Walt Kyle said. "It showed me tonight we have some guys who are going to do that.
"But we're going to have to be a defensive team. Jared had to made some big saves. We know he's capable of that."
Northern Michigan University sophomore forward Reed Seckel tried to pass the puck past Wisconsin defenseman Frankie Simonelli during the third period on Friday at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon, Wis. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Northern Michigan University freshman forward Cohen Adair battles Wisconsin junior defenseman Chase Drake along the boards during the first period of a nonconference game on Friday at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon, Wis. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Seckel tied the 'Cats 2012-13 regular season opener 18 seconds into the third period and Adair posted the game-winner via the power play midway through the third to give NMU a 2-1 victory over Wisconsin in front of 3,176 at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon, Wis.
Coreau made 19 saves for the nonconference win, but was only challenged three times in the final period after being pelted in the first 40 minutes.
The Badgers attempted 53 shots overall, but 19 failed to land on net and another 14 were blocked by Wildcat defenders.
NMU 2, Wisconsin 1
UW010 - 1
NMU002 - 2
UW - Michael Mersch (Mark Zengerle, Tyler Barnes), 14:25, PP
NMU - Reed Seckel (Kyle Follmer, Matt Thurber), 0:18
NMU - Cohen Adair (Justin Rose, Stephan Vigier), 9:07, PP
Saves - Wisconsin (Joel Rumpel), 19; NMU (Jared Coreau), 19.
Power play - Wisconsin, 1-3; NMU, 1-4.
Penalties - Wisconsin, 4-8; NMU, 3-6.
"The Badgers, they have a lot of screens, a lot of traffic in front," Coreau said. "They did a great job of that, but our D did a great job blocking shots. There were a lot of times I couldn't really see the shot and sure enough (C.J.) Ludwig, (Jake) Baker, those guys or even the forwards on the defensive end were blocking shots tonight."
Wisconsin junior forward Michael Mersch found space at the top of the Wildcat crease to break the scoreless tie late in the second period on the tail end of a power play, beating Coreau through the five hole.
Seckel, who won a USHL Clark Cup at the Resch Center with the Green Bay Gamblers in juniors, tied the game at the start of the third period by poking a puck past Badger sophomore netminder Joel Rumpel during a mad scramble in front of the net.
"It was a big play for us because we needed to get on the scoresheet at some point and gain some kind of momentum," Kyle said. "I thought that kind of jump started us."
Adair, who had a goal in the exhibition win Sunday, gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead midway though the third by bouncing the puck of the skate of Badger defenseman Frankie Simonelli and past Rumpel on the man advantage.
But like Kyle, Badgers head coach Mike Eaves pointed to the score by Seckel 18 seconds into the third period as the turning point.
For Eaves, Seckel's goal optimized the final 20 minutes for Wisconsin.
"They outworked us on that goal and they outworked us in that third period," Eaves said.