MTU comes to town

Ray Bressette

The dogs are back in Marquette on Saturday, Feb. 22 for a WCHA conference rivalry rematch.

(Anthony Viola/NW) Juniors Reed Seckel (9) at forward and Jake Baker (23) at defense, are leaders on the ice.
(Anthony Viola/NW)
Juniors Reed Seckel (9) at forward and Jake Baker (23) at defense, are leaders on the ice.

Following a split weekend with ninth-ranked Lake Superior State University, the Wildcats travel to Houghton for a 7:07 p.m. game Friday, Feb. 21 against Michigan Tech. The ’Cats return to Berry Events Center to host MTU at 7:07 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21.

Senior forward Erik Higby said the Wildcats will need to bring a hundred percent this weekend in order to get the victories.

“Since I’ve came here it’s always a battle with them,” Higby said. “It’s a fun game to play. Hopefully we can bring the momentum to the Friday game. Defense is going to win us the game.”

The Wildcats have not seen the Huskies in a game since opening night of conference play, Friday, Oct. 25. NMU took the 2-0 home victory that night in Berry Events Center. The two goals both came in the first, leaving a scoreless second and third period.

Senior forward Stephan Vigier opened the game with a goal off assists from junior forward Reed Seckel and Higby.

Redshirt freshman goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom tallied five saves before NMU sealed the win with a second goal at 16:08 in the first period off a power-play by freshman defenseman Brock Maschmeyer. Higby and junior defenseman Luke Eibler recorded the assists.

The following evening, Saturday, Oct. 26, the Wildcats saw a 4-1 defeat squander their chances of a weekend sweep over the Huskies.

Michigan Tech claimed the victory at home with a two point lead in the first period. The ’Cats’ penalty kill was unable to stop an MTU power-play goal at 7:34 in the first from junior forward Blake Hietala.

The Huskies led from that point on, leaving both teams with a split weekend.

This time around, Michigan Tech is tied for fourth place in the WCHA with a 10-10-4 conference record.

Head coach Walt Kyle said MTU has done a good job putting together a hockey team over the years.

“It’s a really good team,” Kyle said. “They’re ahead of us in the standings. We have to respect that.”

NMU is three points behind the Huskies and ranked eighth in conference, at a 10-11-1 WCHA record.

Kyle said the team has lacked a lot of consistency, but they are starting to get it.

“Sometimes, you’re going down the mountain, and sometimes you’re going up the mountain,” Kyle said. “I think right now we made a turn and we’re starting to go in the right direction.”

The Huskies are coming off a losing weekend to fourth-place Alaska-Fairbanks. Prior, the Huskies cruised a four-game win streak over 10th-place Alabama-Huntsville and fourth-place Bowling Green, and split with first-place Ferris State University in Houghton four weeks ago.

NMU returns from a 5-3 loss to LSSU on Valentine’s Day, but returned with a 5-1 victory Saturday, Feb. 15.

This weekend the rivalry starts up at 7:07 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 in Houghton.

“It’s not what happened yesterday that matters anymore, it’s what happens tomorrow,” Kyle said. “We can be the worst team in the league, but if we’re the best team in the next seven games, or through the playoffs we have a great penalty kill, that’s the way you have to look at it.”