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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Molly Birch
Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Wildcats eliminated in upset defeat

Senior Nicholas Kosinski (left) and freshman defenseman CJ Ludwig work their way into the offensive zone during the final game of the season on Sunday, March 6. The tiebreaker ended in a Wildcat loss in double OT, 2-1. // Justin Key/NW

The drums from the NMU band and student section bellowed with a hollow thud in the half-filled Berry Events Center during the third game tiebreaker against the Bowling Green State University Falcons on Sunday, March 6.

Only 1,088 fans attended the third game, down from the previous nights and a far cry from the average attendance of 2,541. It was the end of Spring Break; however, it had been anything but a break for the Wildcats.

The ’Cats took the first game of the first-round playoff series 6-3, but the Falcons (10-25-4 overall, 3-21-4-2 CCHA) rallied and took game two, 2-0.  The tiebreaker game on Sunday saw no offensive action for almost two full periods until 18:25 in the second when a Falcon forward scored on junior goaltender Reid Ellingson.

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Andrew Cherniwchan scored the lone Wildcat goal at 6:40 in the third period and neither team could finish the game in regulation. The first overtime passed with 10 shots for the Falcons and 9 for the Wildcats, but no winner. Just after the 80-minute mark, Falcon Bryce Williamson beat Ellingson at the net to shatter the postseason goals of the Wildcats.

NMU head coach Walt Kyle said he was disappointed with the loss in a postgame interview.

“If you’re not going to score, you’re not going to win, and I think that’s one of the things that’s plagued us all year,” Kyle said. “I thought we had a number of grade A opportunities we should have put in and we didn’t.”

This season saw the earliest playoff loss in Kyle’s tenure as head coach.

Ellingson, who had 32 saves on the night, said that no matter how the season ending loss occurs, it comes just as hard upon arrival.

“You just don’t want the season to ever end,” Ellingson said. “We had a great group of guys, a great group of seniors and we would have liked to extend our season a little further.”

The team struggled to score all season, earning seventh of 11 in the CCHA in the goals for column. Coupled with the fact that the Wildcats were the worst team in the league by the goals against stat, they had a rough year both offensively and defensively.

The Wildcats finished the regular season with a record of 15-19-5, 12-13-3 CCHA, earning them sixth place, roughly two games short of the fifth place slot which would have gotten them the first round bye week.

Kyle said the regular season certainly wasn’t the best the Wildcats have ever had but he felt the athletes gave a strong effort.

“I wasn’t disappointed with the regular season one or two games out of fourth place, but realistically we just found some ways to win games,” Kyle said. “Statistically, the difference between us and Bowling Green was nil, if you look at goals for and goals against, you see we’re at the bottom with them, we were just able to find a way to win some games.”

Ellingson agreed with the coach as he said the game felt evenly-matched for most of its duration.

“It’s just a couple bounces here for us or them, and the game could have ended the game at any time,” Ellingson said.

The Wildcats are losing seven athletes who have exhausted their NCAA eligibility this year. Forwards Jared Brown, Greger Hanson, Nicholas Kosinski and Mike Maltese, defensemen Andrew Fernandez and Erik Spady, and captain Phil Fox will all be leaving the team.

Spady said he left it all on the ice and has no regrets, and his teammates should only be looking forward from this point.

“We played our hardest, gave it everything we had, and sometimes you don’t get it. I’m proud of how hard we worked,” Spady said.

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