Hockey loses two

Laura Conway

The NMU men’s club hockey team is preparing for their next big series against Delta College out of Bay City, Mich. on Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4 both at 8:30 p.m.

The Wildcats beat Delta College early in the season at the Wildcat Invitational 12-5.

The ’Cats fell to St. Norbert College on Nov. 19 and 20. Even though the ‘Cats didn’t win the series, the team left feeling good about being able to keep up with a highly ranked team.

The first game started of strong closing the first period 1-1. There was a fight in the second period that had the team’s top scorer, Kellen Michalak and Jon Stengel were ejected from the remainder of the weekend’s games.

Senior Matt Dorich holds the fight accountable for the loss as it left an already shorthanded team even shorter.

“The fight was a big deal, it was a 2-1 game at the time of the fight. Two guys out (of the game) and two guys in the box. We only had five guys on the bench so we didn’t get that much recovery on top of more and longer shifts,” Dorich said.

Rookie goalie Mike O’Connell noticed that Saint Norbert had the edge on the Wildcats when it came to strategy around the net.

“Their forwards swoop around the end boards; they get our defense looking other places so their forwards can come in the back door to get a scoring opportunity,” O’Connell said.

The second game was much closer, ending in a 2-1 loss for the Wildcats. The team walked away from that second game with their heads held high even with the loss.

Assistant Captain Evan Weber is impressed with the rookies who stepped up to play hard and the whole team for keeping up with a team as good as Saint Norbert.

O’Connell said he likes the way their practices have been going.

“We’ve been slowly improving ever since our losing streak..practices are getting more technical and we are working on more routines that we are seeing success with in games,” O’Connell said.

Dorich said he noticed the team supporting each other more in games and practice.

“There is a lot more chemistry now, we pick each other up better than before. No one ridicules their teammates at this point, we are a better support system for each other. We have realized that we are not good enough as individuals to not win as a team,” Dorich said.