Courtesy of NMU
MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team concludes their regular season this weekend with a home-and-home series against Western Collegiate Hockey Association foe, Michigan Technological University.
Puck drop in Houghton is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 before the Wildcats return hoem for a 6 p.m. start on Saturday, Feb. 27 as they honor the team’s senior class.
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|AGAINST THE HUSKIES|
In 163 all-time meetings between the Wildcats and Huskies, NMU holds a narrow edge in wins with a 76-63-14 record.
Their last meeting saw the Huskies take the home-and-home series with Andre Ghantous scoring the lone Wildcat goal of the two-game series.
Live Stats at MTU (Fri.): https://www.nmuwildcats.com/sports/mice/2020-21/boxscores/20210226_3wpk.xml
Live Stats vs. MTU (Sat.): https://www.nmuwildcats.com/sports/mice/2020-21/boxscores/20210227_4mo5.xml
|THANK YOU, SENIORS|
In four seasons at NMU, Nardi has led his team to continued success as he nears the century-point mark. As a junior, the star forward helped his team by serving as alternate captain under then-senior Phil Beaulieu. This year, the rising senior was voted by his teammates to serve as team captain prior to the start of the 2020-21 season. In four years donning the Wildcat sweater, Nardi boasts 93 career points (36-57-93) and currently leads the team in both assists (17) and points (27), tying his career-high point-total from the year before.
Nardi, an Entrepreneurship major, is the first Wildcat to skate all four years under current head coach Grant Potulny.
A transfer from Union College, Ben Newhouse first appeared on the ice for the Green and Gold during the 2019-20 season. In 60 games played for NMU, the senior alternate captain owns a record of four goals and 16 assists for 20 points. Consistently one of the top NCAA defensemen in blocks, Newhouse boasts an NCAA best 66 this season. Off the ice, Newhouse is majoring in Mathematics.
Brandon Schultz joined the Wildcats’ offensive efforts as a mid-year transfer from Northeastern University. He made his NMU debut at Bowling Green State University, Jan. 3, 2020 before recording his first point on an assist at Cornell in a 2-2 tie. This season the senior Communications major has four goals and four assists, adding to his 19 career-points. Last weekend Schultz picked up the extra point in the Wildcats’ shootout win over BGSU, scoring the lone goal of the contest in the sixth round of the shootout.
|LAST TIME OUT|
The Wildcats most recently hosted Bowling Green State University to conclude a six games in 10 days stretch, taking two of six points over the two day stretch.
Night one was a defensive battle for the ages as the two teams skated to a 0-0 draw through 65 minutes of play.
It took six rounds of a shootout before a goal was scored as NMU senior Brandon Schultz drew BGSU’s Eric Dop out of the crease, faking him out on a backhanded pass through the legs for the wide open net. Rookie goaltender Rico DiMatteo made the game-clinching save on the Falcons’ sixth attempt to secure the extra league point for his Wildcats.
The following night saw the Wildcats score the first goal of the weekend when Colby Enns found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Falcons ultimately took game two of the weekend series with a 6-2 final as NMU fell to third in the WCHA standings.
6th — AJ Vanderbeck‘s 12 goals is sixth best in the NCAA.
6th — Andre Ghantous‘ 0.83 assists per game ranks sixth in the nation.
7th — Joseph Nardi‘s 27 points ranks seventh nationally as he boasts 10 goals and 17 assists.
8th — Nardi’s 1.23 points per game off 27 points in 22 games played ranks eighth in the nation.
8th — Nardi’s 17 assists is 8th in the NCAA.
8th — Vanderbeck’s three game-winning goals ranks eighth best in the nation.
10th — With 10 goals this season, Nardi ranks 20th among all Division I skaters in the NCAA.
10th — With their pair of shorthanded goals at BSU, Ghantous and Garrett Klee are tied for 10th nationally in the category.
12th — Nardi is averaging 0.77 assists per game, for 12th-best in the nation.
13th — In 18 games played, Ghantous’ 1.17 points per game (6-15-21) is 13th-best in the NCAA.
14th — Vanderbeck’s 12 goals in 22 goals played is 14th nationally in goals per game (0.55).
14th — With 15 assists, Ghantous currently sits 14th nationally in total assists.
17th — Rico DiMatteo recorded his first career shutout in game one against BGSU, ranking 17th in the nation among all netminders.
25th — With the first two game-winning goals of the Wildcats’ season, Nardi ranks 25th overall in game winning goals.
|THANK YOU, TIM MCINTOSH|
On Tuesday, January 5, a voice synonymous with NMU Hockey announced his retirement. Serving as the PA announcer since 1976, Tim McIntosh spent 44 years announcing Wildcat hockey games and his legendary “WWWWILDCAT GOAL” will forever ring through the Berry Events Center. Northern Michigan University Athletics and the NMU Hockey program wish to thank Tim for his years of dedication to their program.
|2020-21 AWARD WINNERS|
The most recent Wildcat award winners include Andre Ghantous (forward) and Rico DiMatteo (rookie) as players of the week following the team’s weekend sweep of then-17th ranked Bemidji State in mid-February. Ghantous led both the team and league in points (5) and assists (4) over the weekend and was second nationally in both categories as well. DiMatteo continued his impressive start to his collegiate career between the pipes, remaining undefeated in his first three games with a pair of wins over the Beavers. He made 47 saves on 50 shots faced in the two-game stretch while boasting a 1.46 goals against average and .940 save percentage.
Following their performance against FSU in late January, both Griffin Loughran and Tim Erkkila were named Western Collegiate Hockey Association Players of the Week. Loughran registered five points on the weekend, leading the league in the category, while Erkkila recorded his first career point in game one before a two-assist night on Saturday for the first multi-point game of his career.
|ON THE RETURNERS|
NMU brings back 17 individuals who saw ice-time in the 2019-20 season, including all three goaltenders and three of its top-four scorers. The team returns 79 goals from the 2019-20 season as well as 219 points, including league-leading scorer Griffin Loughran who posted 39 points (23-16-39) as a sophomore.
After sitting out the 2019-20 season due to transfer requirements, Keefer looks poised to make an impact on the offensive side of the puck while Ryckman will likely battle returning Wildcat goaltender Nolan Kent for the starting position.
Jett Jungels returns to the lineup having sat out last season due to injury. He will provide a veteran look to the rookie class.
Joining him at forward are seven others who all dominated at the junior level and look to contribute to the Wildcat offensive efforts early.
At the blue line, the Wildcats look to replace former All-American captain Phil Beaulieu as they welcome five fresh faces who hope to make an immediate impact to the defensive efforts.
The Wildcats were pegged to finish fourth in the WCHA this season as voted on by the league’s coaches in the 2020-21 WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The media picked Northern Michigan to finish fourth as well through the regular season, behind only unanimous favorite Minnesota State, Bemidji State and Bowling Green.
|YEAR FOUR UNDER COACH POTULNY|
Wildcat head coach Grant Potulny enters his fourth season behind the Wildcat bench. In three previous seasons with the team, Coach Potulny boasts a 64-47-9 record and has led the team to two 20+ win seasons in his three seasons at the helm. Last season the team ranked as high as 15th in the nation, their highest ranking under the current head coach. In his first season at the helm of the Wildcats, Potulny’s team recorded a 25-15-3 season, it’s first 25-win season since 2001-02 and advanced to the WCHA Championship game. the helm of the Wildcats, Potulny’s team recorded a 25-15-3 season, it’s first 25-win season since 2001-02 and advanced to the WCHA Championship game.