Courtesy of NMU Athletics
MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team opens postseason play this weekend (March 8-10) with a best-of-three Central Collegiate Hockey Association First Round series at the University of Michigan. The Wildcats are the No. 10 seed and the Wolverines are the seven seed. The puck drops at 7:35 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if necessary) from Yost Ice Arena.
NMU finished the regular season 15-17-4 overall and 9-15-4-1 in the CCHA. The Wildcats split their fourth CCHA series in a row last weekend against Lake Superior State.
Senior forward Matt Thurber (6-26) leads NMU with 32 points. Sophomore forward Reed Seckel (13-12=25) and juniors forward Erik Higby (9-12=21) and Stephan Vigier (7-13=20) also have 20 points. Seckel leads the team with 13 goals while sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty has 10. Junior goaltender Jared Coreau is 15-17-4 on the season with a 2.59 goals against average and a 92.1 save percentage.
Michigan finished 13-18-3 overall in the regular season and 10-15-3 in the CCHA. The Wolverines are undefeated in their last four games and enter the weekend after a win and tie and shootout win over Ferris State from Yost. UM is 8-8-1 on home ice this year. Alex Guptill (11-15=26) and Cristoval Nieves (8-18=26) lead the offense. Steve Racine (7-5-3, 2.82, 89.2) and Adam Janecyk (3-7-0, 3.46, 89.2) have played the most games between the pipes.
The two teams met on Nov. 2-3 at the Berry Events Center and tied 4-4 on Friday with UM earning the extra CCHA point with a 1-0 shootout win. NMU picked up its first CCHA on Saturday, 4-3. Cohen Adair tallied a team-high two goals and scored a power play goal and picked up his first career assist on Friday. Matt Thurber tallied a team-high five assist on the weekend, including a career-high three helpers in Saturday’s win. Erik Higby, Scott Macaulay and Wade Epp scored their first goals of the season.
Northern is 20-37-7 all-time against the Wolverines and 11-16-2 in Ann Arbor, dating back to 1981. The two teams have never met in the CCHA First Round. NMU is 0-7 against UM in the postseason, including 0-6 in CCHA Tournament games. The last time the two teams met in the postseason was March 21, 2008 in the CCHA Semifinal in Detroit. UM won 6-4 at Joe Louis Arena. The last time the two teams played in the postseason in Ann Arbor was March 9-10, 2007. UM swept NMU in the CCHA Second Round series.
3/29/92 NCAA – L, 7-6 – Detroit
3/20/99 CCHA Championship – L, 5-1 – Detroit
3/19/04 CCHA Super Six – L, 5-1 – Detroit
3/18/06 CCHA 3rd place – L, 3-2 – Detroit
3/9/07 CCHA 2nd Round – L, 4-1 – Ann Arbor
3/10/07 CCHA 2nd Round – L, 8-3 – Ann Arbor
3/21/08 CCHA Semifinal – L, 6-4 – Detroit
NMU split a CCHA series with LSSU last weekend. The ‘Cats won 3-1 on Friday and fell 3-0 on Saturday. Seckel had a goal and two assists while Higby and Thurber also sored. Senior defenseman Kyle Follmer added two assists. Seniors Kyle Follmer, Kory Kaunisto, Scott Macaulay, Brian Nugent and Matt Thurber were honored on Saturday.
Coreau is the CCHA Warrior Goaltender of the Week after 84 saves over the weekend. He stopped 50 shots, and was named the Perani Cup second star, in a 3-1 win over Lake Superior on Friday. He stopped 32-of-34 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Lakers on Saturday.
NMU is 7-13-1 away from the Berry Events Center this season…Matt Thurber led the CCHA with 26 assists in the regular season…Thurber had nine multiple point games…Reed Seckel had six multiple point games…NMU is 10-1-2 when scoring three or more goals…NMU is 0-9-1 when allowing four or more goals…NMU is 5-1-0 when outshooting its opponent…NMU is 10-0-2 when leading after two periods.
Head coach Walt Kyle earned his 200th victory in the Jan. 4 win at St. Cloud. Kyle is in his 11th season on the bench for the Wildcats. His all-time record is 208-184-49. He has led NMU to six 20-win seasons and to the NCAA Tournament in 2009-10. The ‘Cats have been to the CCHA Tournament at Joe Louis Arena seven times under Kyle.
100.3 FM “The Point”, the official radio station of the NMU Wildcats, broadcasts all hockey games. Wildcat hockey can also be heard on Eagle 107.3 in Escanaba and Eagle 96.7 in Newberry.