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The North Wind

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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.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Overtime victory finishes off Gophers

The Wildcats were too much for the Gophers last weekend as the NMU men’s club hockey team swept the defending 2011 WCCHA Champions, the University of Minnesota.

In the final game on Sunday afternoon, the Wildcats and the Gophers went into a five-minute overtime period after regulation time expired in a 5-5 tie.

The Gophers were down by two goals in the last two minutes and were able to break down the ’Cats defense and score twice on the power play to tie it up.

Head coach Carl Trosien said that it was an NMU penalty that gave Minnesota the edge at the end of the period.

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“We took a five-minute major penalty for head contact when we only had a little over five minutes left in the period,” Trosien said. “The kill was good for the first three minutes; then they just took advantage of us being shorthanded and got two goals.”
Freshman goaltender Sam Bouwens said he was grateful for the defensemen that kept the puck out of their zone and did his best to repay the favor.

“The defensemen did their job pretty well and I was trying to absorb as many shots on goal as I could to give them a break,” Bouwens said. “If I can’t catch the shot I need to make sure it bounces off to the side instead of right in front of the goal.”

Between the end of the third period and the start of overtime, senior center Brad Gicopoulos gave Bouwens a pep talk after Minnesota tied the game.

“Brad told me to play solid and stay big out there,” Bouwens said. “He said the team is going to get me a win, all I had to do was stay square and keep the puck out of the net; they’ll pay me back big.”

Even after an overtime penalty left the ’Cats shorthanded again, Gicopoulos got a turnover and broke away from his own zone after an attempted shot from a Gopher forward.

Junior defenseman Evan Weber, on defense at the time of the play, praised his teammate for skating hard and smart.

“G-Cop (Gicopoulos) was playing the penalty kill smart on top. One of the Gophers kept bobbling and missing and G-Cop was beating him all weekend,” Weber said. “He played to that advantage and forced the Gopher to have the puck. He got in the guy’s head, forced the turnover, and took the breakaway.”

Weber said normally in that situation he wouldn’t have followed the breakaway, but was glad he did.

“There was one guy on him, so I skated down in case there was a rebound; I tried to let him know I was there but I had more confidence in Brad taking the shot than me,” Weber said. “The rebound off of his shot went in the corner; he threaded the needle between two defensemen, and I finished.”

Trosien said he was excited about Gicopoulos and Weber finishing the game, but was also proud to see the freshman goalie doing so well off a recent injury.

“Sam had a groin pull and was off the ice for two weeks,” Trosien said. “After that only six pucks got past him out of over 50; all we ask of our goalies is to give us a chance to win and he did just that.”

Gicopoulos also scored in the third period in addition to his overtime assist. Over the entire span of the game, junior forward Kellen Michalak got one hat trick and one extra goal.

In addition to Weber’s game winning goal in the second game, he also scored a goal in the first game on Friday against the Gophers giving him a personal record of one goal in three consecutive games.

Also scoring in the first game was senior defensemen Mark Novak, Kellen Michalak, freshman left wing Tom Castle and senior forward Robby Bissett who scored twice. The ’Cats won the first game 6-1.

With two wins (and four conference points), the Wildcats hold the No. 1 position three points ahead of the second place St. Cloud State University and five points ahead of third place University of Minnesota.

Next weekend the team will be away to play Minnesota State –Mankato, currently ranked sixth in the standings, at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, and at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. Both games will be played at the All Seasons Arena in Mankato, Minn.

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