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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

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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 WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Wildcats’ winning record is one of few

The men’s hockey team is currently one of four conference teams to hold a winning record at this point in the season.

Despite being eighth of 10 teams in the WCHA, the Wildcats are still six league games short of several teams in the conference.

Teams are placed by earned points for each game, and assistant coach Joe Shawhan said the ’Cats have the most league games left of all the WCHA teams.

“No one else has as many games remaining as we do,” Shawhan said. “With that, we need to win those games that we have in-hand on other teams. Those are all points on the table we want to make up.”

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The month of December left the men’s ice hockey team with a losing streak unprecedented for the 2013-14 season. The men fell to preseason favorite University of Minnesota-Mankato, and NCHC team, North Dakota, in December 2013. In late November, the Wildcats also faced Ferris State University, who is currently standing first in the WCHA.

The first evening against Ferris, Friday, Nov. 29, the Wildcats lost 4-1 to the Bulldogs. Sophomore forward Cohen Adair scored the sole goal for the ’Cats off assists from freshman forward Sami Salminen and junior defenseman Luke Eibler.

The following evening, Saturday, Nov. 30, NMU improved to a 1-1 tie with the Bulldogs in overtime. Senior forward Jake Johnson scored a power-play goal off assists from freshman forward Dominik Shine and Salminen at 14:17 in the second period in response to a Ferris State goal at 9:50 in the second period. Neither team was able to take an edge and the end result was a tie.

Head coach Walt Kyle said the start to many of the problems in the team’s recent losses dealt with the games against Ferris.

“The first night we played Ferris we lost (senior defenseman) CJ Ludwig, who’s our captain,” Kyle said. “He’s one of the best players in the country and he certainly was our leader and our catalyst. When that happened, not only did we lose him but at the same time we’re playing Ferris and Mankato, two of the best teams in our league and in the country.”

At the end of last year, the ’Cats were also struggling with several injuries. Over winter break, players including junior defenseman Jake Baker, senior defenseman Wade Epp, freshman defenseman Barrett Kaib, junior defenseman Mitch Jones, senior forward Erik Higby and Eibler all missed ice time due to injuries.

Kyle said there were many struggles the men faced that all came together at a very poor time for the team.

“It was as much a problem off the ice as it was on the ice,” Kyle said. “We just weren’t able to get our rhythm where we needed it. At the same time, we had a ton of injuries at defense. Some of those guys did miss games, but other guys were missing practice and also were playing with significant injuries.”

The men returned to the ice Friday, Jan. 3, on the road against Bemidji State. The weekend played out in a series of wins for the team. Following the series, the ’Cats had a break in play for the weekend of Friday, Jan. 10 and Saturday, Jan. 11.

Kyle said the break came at a bad time for the team.

“We just came back from break for 12 days, or whatever we had off, and then we put together two road wins in Bemidji. We got our rhythm and our mojo back together and now we had to take a week off,” Kyle said. “The good news is, we have 16 games left in our schedule, all league games, and we’re starting off here at home against Alaska.”

NMU also added two athletes to the roster since the break. Shawhan said the two had been facing issues with NCAA eligibility, but are now ready to go for the rest of the season. Freshman forward Gerard Hanson of Sweden joined the team, whose brother played for the Wildcats under Kyle. The ’Cats also introduced redshirt freshman forward John Siemer, whom Shawhan described as a highly skilled forward.

This weekend, the men’s play opens at 7:07 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 against Alaska Fairbanks in Berry Events Center. This will be the first home game for the men in over a month’s span.

Assistant coach John Kyle said the home game will bring a lot of energy for the team in the midst of fans and locals.

“It’s kind of a cliché, but we haven’t been home in a while,” John Kyle said. “Moving forward, we do have the most home games remaining in the league and that should work out in our favor, but only if we win those games. It doesn’t do anything if we don’t win those games just because we have them handy.”

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