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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

Wildcats Hockey team set to graduate six players

For six NMU athletes, last Saturday, March 15 was the last time suiting up in Wildcat hockey gear.

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Assistant coach John Kyle said the coaching staff cannot thank the seniors enough for all of their hard work and effort they put into NMU hockey.“They carry on the tradition that’s always been here,” Kyle said. “We’re proud to have them, and we’re proud now to have them as alumni. I hope they stay with us just like we all have now, forever.”

The men’s hockey team lost in two games in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.They played against Minnesota-State Mankato, with a 3-2 loss Friday, March 14 and a 5-4 overtime loss on Saturday.

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The losses ended the season for senior forwards Erik Higby, Jake Johnson and Stephan Vigier, as well as senior defenseman Wade Epp, Austin Handley and CJ Ludwig. Ludwig was injured earlier in the season and did not have the opportunity to suit up in the second half of his senior season with the Wildcats.Assistant coach Joe Shawhan said, prior to his injury, Ludwig was having a Hobey Baker-type year and would’ve been an all-league player.

“They’re all going to graduate,” Shawhan said of the seniors. “They left a big impact on the program and I wish they would’ve pulled off that playoff series. They wanted it. I thought they led us in the right direction. We feel good about where we’re headed and they helped build a foundation for us to move ahead.”

This season, the ’Cats finished 38 games with a 15-21-2 record. Vigier led the Wildcats in points with 30. Junior forward Reed Seckel came up with 22 points.

Junior Mitch Jones finished third for the Wildcats in season points with 21, as a defenseman.

On the defensive end, Epp finished plus six on the season, junior Jake Baker finished plus three and Jones finished plus one.Freshman forward Dominik Shine said he is expecting a better record next season with a large portion of the athletes returning next year.“It was a rough year, up and down with wins and losses, but we had a lot of fun and I think it will carry over to next year,” Shine said. “We’ll have a better year. I’m just excited; ready to go for next season.”

In addition to Shine, the ’Cats return freshman forward Gerard Hanson and redshirt freshman forward John Siemer, both of which were picked up in the second half of the season. Juniors Ryan Daugherty and Ryan Kesti and sophomore Darren Nowick return at forward.The Wildcats also bring back starting goalie, freshman Mathias Dahlstrom. Dahlstrom finished 2.57 goals against average with a .913 save percentage.

NMU will return two freshmen in addition to Shine, forward Shane Sooth and defenseman Brock Maschmeyer, who contributed to the final games.Shine had two assists while Sooth had one goal and one assist over the weekend.

Maschmeyer, who finished with two assists and two goals against Minnesota State, said the team played hard both games and will need to step it up in place of the veteran players that will not be with the ’Cats next season.

“It was a hard-fought battle,” Maschmeyer said. “Some of the guys that are leaving, we’re not going to be able to replace some of them, but we can sure as hell learn from them.”Earlier this week, head coach Walt Kyle was recruiting athletes for next season, including Wednesday, March 19, when he was in Canada.

Vigier, who was named to the WCHA Scholar-Athlete team in February, said he was proud of all the guys this season.“I had a lot of good memories, made a lot of good friends as teammates and was proud to play here for four years,” Vigier said. “Personally, you just try to be a guy that some of the younger guys look up to; hopefully they thought some of my leadership was helpful for them, and at the end of the day hopefully next year they grow as players and people and have a good solid year.”

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