The NMU men’s club hockey team went 0-2-1 at the ACHA D2 Showcase in Boardman, Ohio last week, but the team is looking to recover for the home game this weekend against Robert Morris College.
The Wildcats (5-7) first game was on Oct. 15 against the seventh highest-scoring team in the Southeast Division, Temple University out of Philadelphia. Though the Wildcats lost 6-0, the team still feels they improved on some very important aspects of their game.
Freshman Andrew Herriman said that in the past games, the Wildcats were losing because of penalties against them. In this first game, he noticed a huge improvement in the amount of Northern penalties.
“There weren’t that many penalties this time. We outshot them, I believe. We had a lot of chances, just couldn’t get it in the back of the net,” Herriman said.
Goaltender Joey Minsky said he thought the team played a solid game, but it was the long drive to Pennsylvania the day before that got to them in this game.
“We had a lot of people with slow legs; our legs were tired from being on the bus for 13 hours,” Minsky said.
Minsky played a good game from the net. There were 46 shots on goal and he only let six of them in. He said that Temple had a lot of guys hanging out behind the net which is how they beat him.
“I had a lot of shots on me and back door opportunities, guys camped (behind the net) ready to shoot in,” Minsky said.
A few of the regular first and second line players didn’t make the showcase, and it was an adjustment for the players to get used to. Sophomore captain Evan Weber complimented his team on how quickly they adjusted and how well the rookies handled it.
“It’s tough when we have top line players not there. The new guys filled in really well this weekend, they realized this was a great chance to prove themselves; and they were really dedicated and stepped up to the plate,” Weber said.
Weber said though they lost, the team held its own against this highly ranked team and the transition to all the new players was smooth after this game.
“We held our ground really well, the adjustment was easy after the first game. This was a really good experience for our team,” Weber said.
The second game, on Saturday, Oct. 16 was against Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). This game had a better outcome, with the Wildcats tying IUP 3-3.
“It was the best game we played all year. Everyone was in really good spirits, passes were good, and we were outworking the other team. We took a couple penalties like we usually do, that’s why it ended up in the tie ,but we controlled a majority of the game,” Weber said.
Sunday, Oct. 17 was the Wildcats’ last game against the seventh highest-scoring team in the Northeast Division, Marist College.
Herriman thought the second line stood out as the MVPs of the game that ended in a 2-5 loss.
“The second line stood out, they had a lot of shots on goal and handled the puck really well,” Herriman said.
According to Minsky, penalties had a bigger impact against Marist than other games in the showcase, but the team came together to come back strong.
“We started out a little rough, I let three goals in, they were all on penalty kills, and they were all back door. There wasn’t that many penalties, at the end of the day and every penalty they took they scored,” Minsky said.
He also said the team is happy with their overall performance in the showcase.
NMU now has 11 points, good for sixth in the Central Division of the ACHA, three points behind first place Central Michigan. The Wildcats’ next game is at home against Robert Morris College on Oct. 22 and 23 at 9 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.