NMU splits with Tech

Jordan Beck

The NMU men’s club hockey team split the series against Michigan Tech this weekend, marking their first loss of the season.The ’Cats lost 3-4 on Friday, Sept. 27 at home. NMU totaled 34 shots on net with help from senior forward Mike Baudino, freshman defenseman John Werenka and senior forward Kellen Michalak.

Senior center Kevin McNab (27) and junior forward David Failing (40) helped NMU shut out the Michigan Tech Huskies 5-0 Saturday, Sept. 28. (Anthony Viola/NW)
Senior center Kevin McNab (27) and junior forward David Failing (40) helped NMU shut out the Michigan Tech Huskies 5-0 Saturday, Sept. 28. (Anthony Viola/NW)

The three men scored back-to-back to lead MTU 3-1 at the beginning of the second period.The Huskies scored three unanswered goals, however, in order to receive the victory.

Sophomore center Brock Francis said even with the loss, his team is very well structured.

“After receiving our first loss of the year it motivated us to bare down on how we played,” said Francis. “I think our team is looking great this year. It is early in the year so we are still working out a few kinks in our defensive and offensive systems.”

The ’Cats junior goalie Jeff Ryan saved 27 of 31 shots for an average of .871 percent. The game left the ’Cats record at 4-1.

The ’Cats didn’t hesitate to capitalize in the game on Saturday, Sept. 28 against the Huskies, shutting them out in a 5-0 victory.

Michalak found success with the puck as he scored in the opening period, along with Francis and sophomore center Steven Eklund.

The team held a 3-0 lead heading into the third period. NMU finished with two goals by senior center Neeco Belanger and junior forward Dillon Montalvo.

The Wildcats won 5-1 and ended the weekend on a split series with Michigan Tech.

Sophomore forward Dean Potila said the team chemistry is great in contributing to the wins.

“This weekend we played a lot better the second game,” Potila said. “The first game we lacked in work ethic, and heart. But the second game we knew we had to play to our caliber of hockey.”

The ’Cats made an adjustment in their lineup in the second game against the Huskies by starting junior goalie Alex Latvala, who saved 38 shots on goal.

The ’Cats junior forward Ben Hughes said the series didn’t start to their liking but the result was successful.

“We all get along real well,” Hughes said. “We must keep our head up during every game and maintain consistency in our game play. Our chemistry on and off the ice is great and our coaching staff only guides us to makes us play stronger and better. I’m looking forward to this season with this group of guys and hopefully making it to the Nationals.”

The ’Cats travel to face Illinois State University at 10:10 p.m. EST Friday, Oct. 4 at the Pepsi Ice Center and 8 p.m. EST Saturday, Oct. 5 at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill.