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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
Assistant Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

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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

’Cats prepare to pounce on Husky hockey

The battle of the U.P. will be renewed for hockey fans this weekend when the NMU Wildcats and  No. 16-ranked Michigan Tech Huskies co-host a home-and-home series to open conference play.re-hockey_ET

Sophomore forward Robbie Payne, a native of the Keweenaw, said the U.P. rivalry is filled with intensity.

“Growing up in Houghton I knew the rivalry well, and now playing in it’s huge,” Payne said. “It’s a lot of fun. Both teams want to win pretty bad, and they hate us just as much as we hate them. We love playing them, but we love beating them more.”

The Wildcats lead the all-time series with their cross-state foes 68-54-14 in a rivalry that dates back to 1979.

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However, last season the Huskies took two wins and a tie against NMU, splitting a home-and-home series in January and sweeping the ’Cats in March.

In fact, since Tech’s head coach Mel Pearson left the University of Michigan coaching staff for the head gig with Tech in 2013, NMU has gone 3-6-1 against the Huskies.

Pearson said the U.P. rivlary attests to how competitive the WCHA is.

“Every time you play against a team in this league, you’re going to play against a team that works hard, tries to take you off your game, has good skill and usually has good goaltending,” Pearson said. “We have our hands full [with NMU], but it’s a great rivalry. I’ve played and coached in this rivalry, and it’s fantastic.”

Tech is coming off a 2014-15 season that saw them win 29 games overall, finishing second in the WCHA and reaching the NCAA Regional Tournament. This year they are without their leading scorer from a year ago who helped them reach last season’s accomplishments in Tanner Kero, who is now with the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization.

The Huskies still returned three of their five double digit scoring leaders from a year ago, as well as senior goaltender Jamie Phillips who led the WCHA in save percentage at .933.

Tech is seeing offensive production from one of their freshman forwards brought in to replace Kero’s contribution in Brett Boeing, who has earned two goals and four games through Tech’s first two games.

The Huskies are 1-1 overall after a weekend against Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. to start their season.

The Wildcats sit 1-1-3 through their first four games, splitting a nonconference home-and-home series last weekend with the Lake Superior State University Lakers. Robbie Payne scored a hattrick against LSSU in NMU’s 6-3 win Friday, Oct. 16 at the Berry. The Lakers returned the favor the following evening with a 4-0 shutout over the ’Cats at Taffy Abel Ice Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Senior goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom started Friday night’s game, but was pulled for the third period due to fatigued legs and was replaced by freshman Atte Tolvanen who also played all of Saturday’s game. Kyle said Dahlstrom’s status depends on his level of fatigue to avoid injury, and they will continue monitoring him throughout the week.

With the rivalry being so heated, sometimes players even overlook the fact that the game counts for the WCHA standings.

“We just want to beat Tech,” Payne said. “It’s nice to have the games also mean something for points, but more than anything we just want to beat them.”

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