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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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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.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal Wiertella March 1, 2024

Hockey season in review with head coach Walt Kyle

The Wildcat hockey season ended in a sweep from the Ferris State Bulldogs in the opening round of the WCHA playoffs last weekend in Big Rapids. NMU outshot Ferris in the first game on Friday, March 11 but fell 3-2 on a late Ferris powerplay goal. The following night, the ’Cats held a 2-1 lead with four minutes remaining in the game before Ferris scored four-straight goals to steal the game. The North Wind’s editor-in-chief Ray Bressette sat down with NMU head coach Walt Kyle to discuss the season in review.re-hockey_ET

Both games in the playoffs ended in obvious disappointment as late penalties led to Ferris’ game-winning goals. What do you attribute most to the losses?

The last five games of the year we just did not score, and it was the biggest issue in the series. We took some untimely penalties, and I think that contributed to the losses, but at the end of the day they were two really hard-fought hockey games and one-goal games in their building.

Friday we played exceptional but just couldn’t score, and Saturday we had the lead in the final minutes and that’s a credit to the guys’ work. You always have to work hard toward finishing, and both nights we lost on penalties. They were a factor in a hard place to play.

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Was it a disappointing way for senior goalie Mathias Dahlstrom to end his NMU career?

Dahlstrom is a guy who my heart goes out to. He was so good for us until his significant knee injury last year, and it took him over a year to recover, and that’s what happens with an ACL. He wanted to come back and did everything he could, but he was never fully back. He had some success, but he still never found that day-to-day rhythm we had seen before. He’ll find it again—it’s just unfortunate we couldn’t have him here for it.

Your record this season (15-16-7) is the best the team has finished with in four years. What are your overall thoughts looking back at the improvements of this season?

At times over the last three or four years, I didn’t like where we were, and it was no secret. The pendulum was swinging down, and this year it started swinging up for us for sure. My only disappointment is the way we finished. It wasn’t just the playoff loss, because that happens. When we finish the season 0-5-1 and you look at the goals we scored in those games, we did not get pucks to the net, and that really hurt us down the stretch.

Some of your players consistently reached national recognition throughout the year. What impact will another offseason have toward improving their game?

I feel really good about a lot of things we have in place right now. Many players got league awards like (freshman goalie) Atte Tolvanen and (junior forward) Dominik Shine, and Tolvanen could be the best goaltender in the league next year, and Shine could lead the league in scoring. They have tremendous abilities, and they give us a good start. We have four of our top six defensemen coming back, and our freshmen from this year have gained a lot of experience. I like where we are at right now. We have some holes to fill, but we took a step this year. We’re right there, but we didn’t close it out at all how we wanted to, and that’s my biggest disappointment.

What needs to be done with the team during the offseason to take the next step?

We need to see continued growth and some bounceback players. We had some guys who were better last year that we need to come back better next season. I never thought we would play as many freshmen this year as we did through injuries. That was at times difficult, but it’s a huge benefit to us moving forward. Everybody needs to take a step up, and if we do, we will have a much better finish next season.

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