MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University hockey team is coming off a weekend series in which they were swept by Alabama Huntsville. Next up for the ‘Cats: another tough road trip, this time to Happy Valley.
In just their third year of existence as a full–fledged hockey program, the Nittany Lions currently lead the Big Ten standings.
This is a non–conference series for NMU, so it gives them a chance to work on some things and get back to playing what they consider to be ‘Wildcat Hockey.’
“We might have been holding our sticks a little bit too tight after Friday night,” said NMU assistant coach John Kyle about the Wildcat’s series against the Chargers. “This (series) is going to allow us to get back to who we really are. We need to be physical, stay out of the box, and create some offense, so we’re going to try a few new things.
“We’ve always said to our players that you get better when you play good teams,” Kyle added. “I don’t think that we should have a problem getting up for this, raising our level of intensity and sharpness.”
“We like playing good teams, it’s a challenge for us,” said NMU defenseman Mitch Jones. “We tend to play with the big teams and prove that we belong up there. It’s a good chance for us to get back on track. We went a little bit off–track with what our goals were last weekend, so it’s a good opportunity for us.”
“There’s times throughout the year that can turn your season up and down and it’s never too late to turn it in the right direction,” said NMU forward Ryan Kesti. “We still have a very good team in this locker room in that one weekend is not going to define our season.”
“It will be a intimidating environment, Kesti said about playing at Penn State. “I think it’s a place that is growing quickly in hockey; it’s going to be a fun place to play. It’s a time for us to really get back at it here and try to get some confidence.”
Friday’s game begins at 7:30 p.m., followed by a 4:30 p.m. start on Saturday on the Big Ten Network.