The teams at the top and the bottom of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association produced a fantastic finish featuring four goals in the final five minutes Friday at Sullivan Arena.
With one second left, Northern Michigan's Adam Rockwood furnished the finishing touch in his team's 4-2 victory over the Seawolves by firing a long shot into an empty net.
UAA, playing with an extra attacker, was trying to tie the game when Rockwood secured the puck near the boards and scored on a shot that traveled nearly the length of the ice.
The win vaulted the Wildcats (16-10-3 overall, 14-5-2 WCHA) into first place in the WCHA with 46 points. Minnesota State — UAA's opponent next week — is in second place with 45 points and has played one fewer game than Northern Michigan.
The Seawolves (2-19-4, 2-14-3) are last in the 10-team league with 12 points.
UAA trailed 2-0 after two periods. The Seawolves twice cut the lead to one goal in the final five minutes on goals by Alec Butcher. The first came on the power play with a little less than five minutes left and the second came with 11 seconds left and UAA goalie Olivier Mantha off the ice for the extra attacker.
After Butcher made it 2-1, Northern Michigan scored with two minutes left to regain a two-goal lead. Mantha, who finished with 26 saves, denied Troy Loggins on a breakaway, but Rockwood chased down the puck and sent it back to Loggins for a goal that gave Rockwood his nation-leading 24th assist of the season.
UAA pulled Mantha with less than a minute left and cashed in with Butcher's second goal. The Seawolves kept the extra attacker but couldn't get the equalizer.
Northern Michigan outshot UAA 30-20, including 23-13 in the final two periods. The Wildcats grabbed a 1-0 lead on Luke Voltin's goal 96 seconds into the game and made it 2-0 with Zach Diamantoni's goal late in the second period.
The teams meet again Saturday at 7:07 p.m. at Sullivan Arena.