’Cats ready themselves for Bulldogs

AnnMarie Kent

The Wildcat hockey team was left goal-less during their series against Bemidji State University, but they are looking for redemption this coming weekend as they head downstate for a series against Ferris State University.

re-hockey1-jmBemidji, now 4-0, shutout the Wildcats both Friday and Saturday night.

Sophomore goaltender Atte Tolvanen had 52 saves in the series and said he was prepared to take a lot of shots from Bemidji. He remembered them taking a lot of shots on goal last year.

Tolvanen said the team did well overall but they didn’t get the goals when they had scoring chances.

“It’s early in the year so there’s mistakes,” he said. “It goes up and down more than at the end of the year when both teams get their systems going.”

Head coach Walt Kyle said playing such a good team was good for the Wildcats. It gave them a chance to realize they have to work to get points, rely on teammates and not try to do too much.

While Kyle said he liked the way his team was playing on Saturday, Bemidji had more time of possession and was able to do more with it.

“They have some more experienced, dynamic forwards than we do right now, and those guys are the guys that capitalize for them,” Kyle said.

The Wildcats play Ferris State Bulldogs at 7:07 p.m. on Friday Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22 at Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Ferris is 0-5 after being swept by the University of Alabama-Huntsville in their season opener and only conference match-up so far this season. Ferris also had an unsuccessful series against Western Michigan University the first weekend of October, and then fell to the University of Michigan in a single game on Saturday.

NMU last met the Bulldogs during the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs last year when Ferris swept the 2-game series. Senior defenseman Brock Maschmeyer said the team is looking to redeem themselves.

“It’s one of those series that you know is going to be a hard fought battle,” Maschmeyer said. “Every single shift you’re going to be hit both ways.”

Kyle said the ’Cats are more than capable of winning the series this weekend.

“I look at it as league points on the table and we have the opportunity,” Kyle said. “Ferris is going to be hungry and waiting for us.”

Kyle said the building is difficult for the Wildcats to play in. The Berry Events Center Olympic-sized rink measures 200 feet by 100 feet, but the rink at Ewigleben Arena measures 200 feet by 85 feet.  Maschmeyer said the rink feels tiny and pucks can be shot from the redline and make it in.

Kyle said having guys with experience playing on the rink at Ferris will help but they also hope to have senior forward Dominik Shine healthy for the game. Shine hasn’t been playing for reasons Kyle wouldn’t specify, but he said the team needs to learn to win without him.

“We just have to find a way to demand they get better everyday and stay positive.”