Wildcats break out the brooms

Katie Bultman

The men’s club hockey team had a successful weekend in Minnesota Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4. The team picked up three wins to earn a No.10 Central Region ACHA ranking, along with earning head coach Carl Trosien’s 100th ACHA victory.

The ‘Cats are now 5-0 on the conference, with a 15-2 overall record. Head coach Carl Trosien is very proud of his teams, both past and present, for the accomplishment.

“The wins obviously were huge, and I give the kids all the credit,” Trosien said. “I’ve had some very good teams over the years.”

The Wildcats kicked off the weekend on Friday, against the University of Minnesota with a 10-0 win.

Sophomore goaltender Jeffery Ryan earned the win and his first shutout for NMU.

Ryan said he was pleased with the outcome.

“It felt good,” Ryan said. “Shutouts are not really common, with playing three 20-minute periods it is kind of difficult. I was more worried about getting the win.”

The Wildcats scored three goals in the first period for the early lead. Left wing junior Eric Wozny scored at 14:53 in the first period with assists from freshman forward Anders Carlson and senior defenseman Mark Novak.

In the second period, Wozny began the series of goals again, with assists from freshman defenseman Karsten Heppler and sophomore forward Gunther Garrett. At the end of the period, the ‘Cats left with a 7-0 lead.

In the final period, NMU scored three more goals without a response from Minnesota.

Saturday night the Wildcats came out strong when sophomore forward Wolff Belanger assisted senior center Brad Gicopolous for a goal at 14:21 in the first period. Minnesota answered with a goal at 12:12.

Belanger scored two more goals for the ‘Cats with assists from Gicopolous and Carlson, bringing a 3-1 Wildcat lead with three minutes left in the first period.

Minnesota surprised the ‘Cats by scoring two goals in under a minute. The Gopher’s first came at 0:51 and then a second goal was scored in under five seconds. The teams left the first period tied 3-3.

In the second period, the Wildcats shut out Minnesota and scored two, one of which was a shorthanded goal.

Belanger, who put up six goals and three assists for the ‘Cats over the weekend, knew how hard the team worked for those goals.

“In hockey, shorthanded goals are not that common,” Belanger said. “They have been very common this year, though. We have a lot of speed and it helps us on the penalty kill.”

NMU left the second period up 5-3.

In the final period the ‘Cats scored another two before Minnesota answered at 9:23, and then dropped off from there.

Right wing sophomore Ben Hughes finished the game when he scored the final goal at 2:02 in the third period. The teams left the ice with NMU leading 8-4.

Sophomore goalie Alex Latvala earned the win for a 4-0 season record.

The ‘Cats made the most of their weekend with a third game on Sunday afternoon against St. Thomas in Minnesota.

NMU pulled out a 6-1 win, with Ryan picked up his second win of the weekend as goaltender. The wins put Ryan’s record at 9-2 for the season.

In the final game, Garrett scored first off a power play assist from Gicopolous. Afterwards, Belanger scored off assists from Gicopolous and Latvala to bring the ‘Cats up 2-0 in the first period.

During the second period, penalties ran high and all of the goals were scored off power plays. NMU had two of the three goals, and the Wildcats led 4-1 at the end of the second period.

The statistics looked as if the penalty average was higher than normal. However, Belanger noted otherwise.

“We took advantage of the penalties and we were disciplined,” Belanger said. “We were just clicking.”

The ‘Cats scored two more power play goals in the third period. The sixth and final Wildcat goal was scored by senior defenseman Shane Feeliery with help from Gicopolous, who assisted on the play.

The No. 10 ‘Cats will be facing off with the No.13-ranked Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs next weekend at the Lakeview arena at 9 pm on Friday, Nov. 9 and 3:30 pm Saturday, Nov. 10.