‘Cats hockey projected fourth in WCHA Preseason Media Poll

Photo+courtesy+of+NMU+Athletics.

Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics.

Travis Nelson

Last year after finishing third place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) conference standings, the NMU Hockey team enters this shortened season projected to finish in fourth place in the Preseason Media Poll.

The Wildcats have 68 points in the poll, trailing Minnesota State-Mankato, Bemidji State (BSU) and Bowling Green (BGSU). Defending WCHA Champion Mankato is slated to repeat as champs, topping the preseason poll with 100 points, with BSU having 89 points and BGSU having 76 points. Trailing NMU by one spot in the poll is Michigan Tech, who trail the ‘Cats by one point in the poll with 67, but come into this season beating Northern five of six times a year ago.

NMU is hoping to improve on its up-and-down 18-16-4 record from a year ago, and will have a chance to do so by returning 219 points from last season. Junior forward Griffin Loughran had the league in goals last season, and he along with forwards senior Joseph Nardi and junior Vincent de Mey round out the return of three of the Wildcats’ top four scorers from last year’s campaign.

Instead of 28 conference games, the ‘Cats will only play 18 this year, giving them even more limited of an opportunity to scratch their way up the standings. With only 15 days until the season begins with a Wednesday, Nov. 25 battle with Lake Superior State, WCHA hockey is right around the corner for NMU.