MARQUETTE – With six weeks remaining until tournament time, every second, every minute, every period, every game, every point becomes even more important. The Wildcats and Huskies are both at home this weekend, where they have the opportunity to pickup four huge points in the conference standings.
Back in November, the NMU hockey team was rolling to start the season, until they went to Alaska. The ‘Cats were shutout in back–to–back games by both Alaska squads. Since that trip to the great northwest, NMU hasn’t been the same. The green and gold have a chance to redeem themselves when they take on Alaska Anchorage tomorrow night at the Berry.
“Earlier in the year when we were winning, we were efficient on the penalty kill. We have not been that efficient lately, we have to be better at that,” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle. “Our powerplay has been in and out; we have to find a consistency there. I think we just have to grow, continue to give guys opportunities, and as a team just get better and better. You have to find some success to find your rhythm, your charisma, and your mojo. We have to get that back.”
“Anchorage is a good team. They’re well coached and they work hard,” said NMU forward Reed Seckel. “We need to get back here at the Berry Events Center and enjoy the time at home. These points are crucial this weekend and we need to come ready to play for a full 60 minutes each night.”
“These are big games for us,” said NMU co–captain Ryan Kesti. “To be back in our building will be great. To have the students, the band, and the fans will be really fun. We look forward to the weekend and it’s a big opportunity.”
In Houghton, the Huskies continue their nine–game home stand against Alabama Huntsville. Michigan Tech swept the Chargers in Huntsville back in November. UAH is a team you can’t take lightly according to Huskies head coach Mel Pearson.
“You can’t underestimate them, there’s no doubt about it,” said Pearson. “Northern Michigan, who beat us and tied us, went down there and lost two games. If you want a measure of how good they are, you can just look at that. We have our work cut out for us.”
“That series before doesn’t matter at all,” said MTU forward Alex Petan. “Any team in any given night can play well enough to win in this league. We just have to focus on Friday night, get the win there first, and move on from there.”
“We have to come out strong both games right away, have a good start and get a good lead early” said Huskies forward Chris Leibinger. “We have to play our game for a whole 60 minutes, focus on everything we do good. We just have to worry about us and play hard.”
Puck drop at the Berry Events Center and MacInnes Student Ice Arena is set for 7:07 p.m. both nights. In other WCHA action this week, Bowling Green plays at Bemidji State and Minnesota State hosts Ferris State.