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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.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Deja vu: Slow start, penalties haunt NMU in series opening 4-1 loss to Lake State

LAKERS+TAKE+GAME+ONE%E2%80%94NMU+dropped+its+third+straight+game+and+fifth+in+its+first+seven+with+a+4-1+to+Lake+Superior+State+on+Friday+night.+Puck+drop+for+game+two+takes+place+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+9+at+6%3A07+p.m.+Travis+Nelson%2FNW
LAKERS TAKE GAME ONE—NMU dropped its third straight game and fifth in its first seven with a 4-1 to Lake Superior State on Friday night. Puck drop for game two takes place on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 6:07 p.m. Travis Nelson/NW

A new game presented the same problems for the NMU Hockey team. The Wildcats lost its third game in a row, dropping the first game of the series doubleheader against Lake Superior State University, 4-1.

The ‘Cats (2-5, 0-2 WCHA) have given up the first goal in the game in each contest since its season opening victory over Ferris State, and have been outscored a combined 13-1 in its last three games dating back to last weekend against Minnesota State-Mankato. Head Coach Grant Potulny has been recently talking about the Wildcats’ impressive record when scoring first, but the problem of not scoring first this season has taken its toll.

“It’s upsetting that we start games how we start them; it’s upsetting the amount of penalties we consistently take,” Potulny said. “The third period is the period we decide to play the game and we look like the team that we want to look like. I’m upset today, there’s some other days that you feel different, but today’s upsetting.”

Penalties have been hurting NMU in key situations this season, and have gone along with the slow starts. Sophomore defenseman Mason Palmer committed a tripping penalty 28 seconds into the game, and it led to a LSSU goal scored by junior forward Pete Veillette just 15 seconds later to give the Lakers the lead for good.

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“On our penalty kill, we don’t talk to each other so we can’t clear the puck like we should. We don’t block shots, and that goes back to how important is it really?” Potulny said.

Less than three minutes later, redshirt junior forward David Keefer committed a second penalty for Northern, and the Lakers capitalized within seconds with a goal from junior forward Mitchell Oliver to make the score 2-0. LSSU extended its lead to 3-0 not on a power play goal, but three seconds after the Laker’s power play ended from NMU freshman forward Brett Willits’ hooking penalty. The Wildcats committed eight penalties, giving up two goals on the penalty kill, but only scored once on its six power play goals. Senior forward Joseph Nardi, who Potulny has recently mentioned his high level of play, ended the nine period scoring drought in the third period.

The things that have been urking Potulny are not related to talent or skill of his team, he said. Looking a complete effort for three straight periods is something, but being comfortable with being uncomfortable is his newest message to the Wildcats. In any combat sport, this is important, Potulny said. 

“I’ve got to make us uncomfortable. This week [at practice] was uncomfortable and it’s going to continue to be uncomfortable until we’re comfortable being uncomfortable,” Potulny said.

The often changing lineups will continue to do so in the series finale on Saturday night against the Lakers, Potulny said. He will have to construct his lineup without two of his top forwards in junior Griffin Loughran and sophomore Andre Ghantous who are out due to post-COVID-19 issues. On top of this, two defenseman in sophomores Tanner Vescio and sophomore Hank Sorensen continue to be sidelined with injuries.

The Wildcats return to home ice on Saturday, Jan. 9 to try and find a spark with new lineups to earn a split against LSSU. Northern will try to once again get its first win against a squad not named Ferris State, and will have to face Potulny’s message of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Puck drop takes place between the ‘Cats and Lakers inside the nearly empty Berry Events Center at 6:07 p.m.

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