No. 1 Wildcats seek redemption against Duluth

Mike Carbonara

The No. 1 ranked Northern Michigan University women’s division II hockey club will host the No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 at Hockeyville’s Lakeview Arena in Marquette, Michigan.

re-WomensHockeyThe 2016 American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Tournament was the last meeting between the two clubs. The Bulldogs ended the Wildcats season with a 3-2  loss in triple overtime. The Bulldogs advanced and won the national championship.

Junior left wing Caitlyn Muehlbacher said the team is looking confident and prepared for their upcoming matchup with Duluth.

“The main focus of practice this week has been defense, passing and putting the puck in the back of the net,” Muehlbacher said. “As a team we have gotten better from our last game with Minnesota.”

The ’Cats finished last season with an 18-5 record and an undefeated conference record of 14-0. The ’Cats outscored their opponents in conference play 148-8. The 2016 season marked the second year in a row for the Wildcats to claim the Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association (CCWHA) Division II Champions.

Junior Defenseman and president of the women’s hockey club Kelsey Weyland said she is excited about the redemption match-up between the Wildcats and the Bulldogs.

“We’ve been proving our club through the past couple years and I don’t feel we receive any respect from the other teams in our league,” Weyland said. “This game will be a big stepping stone in defining that we are and deserve the #1 ranking.”

The 2016-2017 season thus far has led the ’Cats to be first ranked in the ACHA Division II West Region. The ’Cats team, led by head coach Gregg Swajanen, maintains an overall record of 12-1-1; 7-1-0 at home and 5-0-1 away. The ladies have a total of 118 Goals For (GF) and 43 Goals Against (GA). Minnesota-Duluth has a record of 9-3-1 with 39 GF and 23 GA.

The Bulldogs are currently 2-2 on the road with a -8 goal difference.

The ’Cats take the ice on Saturday in the first matchup with Duluth since the defeat of the 2016 playoffs. Tickets will be $10 for the public and $5 with a student I.D. The cost of admission will cover the doubleheader played at Lakeview Arena for both the Wildcats game against the Bulldogs and the Marquette Mutineers game against the West Bend Bombers.