This has become the story of the civilized hockey world. Sophomore goaltender Atte Tolvanen made a career-high 48 saves and tied a Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association record with his fifth straight shutout as the surging Northern Michigan Wildcats moved into possession of a Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff spot.
Tolvanen has now gone 335 minutes and 39 seconds without allowing a goal and has made a remarkable 207 saves in succession during that span.
The latest Tolvanen shutout — and Northern Michigan victory — was a 2-0 blanking of the visiting Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks on Saturday night.
Junior forward Robbie Payne, formerly of the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, had both goals as Northern Michigan won its sixth straight game to move into a sixth-place tie with the Lake Superior State Lakers in the 10-team WCHA.
Payne has team-leading totals of 12 goals, 13 assists, 25 points.
With his fifth shutout in a row, Tolvanen tied the mark set by Blaine Lacher, who established the feat back in 1994 while tending twine for Lake Superior State. Lacher still holds the longest scoreless streak in Division 1, NCAA history with 375 minutes, 1 second.
PHOTO: Northern Michigan goalie Atte Tolvanen.