Men’s club hockey sweeps weekend

Laura Conway

The NMU men’s club hockey team had a winning series against the Northern Illinois University Huskies from Dekalb, Ill., this past weekend.

The last two seasons against NIU, the Wildcats split the series.  This time, the team wasn’t going to settle for anything less than a sweep.

A lot of the team is from Illinois, so NIU is a pretty big rival for them.  Many of the Wildcats have played on teams with some of the opposing team members, so they know each others’ strengths and weaknesses.

Forward Kellen Michalak wanted to make a statement with the first game and make sure they knew the ’Cats were going for the sweep and not just a split like in previous years.

“We wanted to come out big and set the tone … mainly we wanted to sweep. We didn’t want to split with them,” Michalak said.

In the first game NMU came out almost unstoppable.  Out of the 40 attempted shots on goalie Joey Minsky, he only let one through.

Minsky is glad that he is playing so well and that his team knows they can rely on him when they need him.

“I’ve been pretty hot the last couple of games. They come out a little harder for me. The team has a little more trust in how I play,” Minsky said.

Michalak had an impressive game himself, scoring two out of the seven goals of that first game.

“One shorthanded goal that was clutch made the game 3-1,” Michalak said.

This first game ended with the Wildcats winning 7-1.

The second game was a nail- biter as first period ended with a tie, and early in the second period the Huskies got ahead by two.  The Wildcats refocused and fought their way back to a tie with five minutes to go in the third period.  Then, veteran player Robbie Bissett scored the winning goal with a minute to go and the Wildcats won 4-3.  Minsky commented that it was Bissett’s first goal of the season and a huge motivator for the team to keep playing strong.

“Bissett drilled the puck in and we (took the lead) 4-3. The bench really got hyped up,” Minsky said.

Another big win from this game was for rookie goalie Matt Kapuchinski. It was his first club win of his career.  The previous weekend against Bowling Green State University was tough for him and the team, losing both games 10-0 and 5-1.  Kapuchinski was feeling great going into this game though, and he had worked hard during the week to make sure he didn’t make the same mistakes.

“I felt good going into the game … Bowling Green was tough and we had a lot of guys come back for this game that were gone so we had our full line up back. We came back and tied it, got over the penalties, stayed focus and didn’t lose anything. We worked too hard throughout the week to not win this game,” Kapuchinski said.

The next match for the Wildcats is against the University of Iowa, a team that they haven’t played in a few years. Iowa sought out to schedule the Wildcats for the game; it was a compliment.

Kapuchinski isn’t going to treat Iowa differently than any other team they have played. He knows they are a talented team, but he is still going to give it his all and is confident the rest of the team will too.

“I’ve heard Iowa is tough. As long as we play our best, I’m sure there’s no reason why we can’t stick with them. This is going to be a good measuring stick to see where we are as a team,” Kapuchinski said.

The Wildcats are playing the University of Iowa at the Berry Events Center Friday, Oct. 8 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m.

for the Wildcats is against University of Iowa, a team that they haven’t played in a few years. Iowa was the one who sought out to schedule them for a game: it’s a compliment.

Kapuchinski isn’t going to treat Iowa different from any other team they have played.  He knows they are a talented team, but he is still going to give it his all and is confident his team will too.

“I’ve heard Iowa is tough.  As long as we play our best, I’m sure there’s no reason why we can’t stick with them.  This is going to be a good measuring stick to see where we are as a team,” Kapuchinski said.

The Wildcats are playing University of Iowa at The Berry Events Center Friday Oct. 8 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m.