Hockey: weekend rollercoaster at Berry Events Center

NMU Men’s Hockey faced off against UA Anchorage in series of intense home games


Photo courtesy of Rylynn Sladek

FROZEN – After a 9-1 win on Friday the ‘Cats were unable to produce the same offensive results, with the Seawolves winning 3-1 on Saturday night.

Chris Anderson

NMU Men’s Hockey was back home last weekend after coming off a tough weekend at No.12 Notre Dame where they dropped both matches to the Fighting Irish. NMU was set to face off against University of Alaska Anchorage this past week in the Berry Events Center and the matches were a tale of two stories.

“I thought it was a little bit of an interesting game,” Head Coach Grant Potulny said. “We were kind of sleepy to start.”

Starting the second period of the first match, the ‘Cats were up 1-0. After a few minutes the Seawolves were called for a five-minute major and UA-A gave up three goals to the ‘Cats in the power play, sending NMU into a frenzy.

 “From that point, I think both teams kind of knew what was going to happen and with a little bit of attrition on their side, we probably felt a little better,” Potulny said.

The ‘Cats rang off four more goals to finish off the Seawolves in a 9-1 performance that saw six different Wildcats scoring goals, three of whom scored twice. NMU standout A.J. Vanderbeck had two goals as well as a couple of assists on the night.

The ‘Cats were unable to ride that momentum into Saturday night when NMU had 16 penalties. The Seawolves took advantage, scoring three unanswered goals to win the second matchup 3-1, with two of the three goals coming in the final five minutes.

“I think it’s self-discipline,” Potulny said. “I just think we get tired and when you get tired, your courage goes and it’s hard to defend when you know you don’t have any legs.” 

The loss was not from a lack of shots at the goal, as the ‘Cats took 18 more shots than the Seawolves, but the puck just could not find the net for NMU in the disappointing loss. That has not been a problem so far this season, as the Wildcats are averaging 3.8 goals per game through the first eight games of the season.

“A couple guys in particular had looks that you dream of,” Potulny said. “And one guy in particular had three of them in the same game … and you just have to score. It’s just the bottom line.” 

NMU is in the top 25 in quite a few important categories such as scoring, power play and in the penalty kill so far this season, but have seen their record fall back to .500.

“Right now, we’re not finding ways to win,” Potulny said. “That’s something that I think needs to be addressed as well as a couple of fitness needs.”

Over the next few weeks, the Wildcats will try to fix some of the problems Potulny has seen within the team at this point of the season. University of Alaska Fairbanks will be looking to give NMU a hard time this weekend after two solid matchups against Omaha-Nebraska. NMU and UA-F will play Oct. 28 and 29 in the Berry Events Center.

“I think they’ll be a much tougher opponent than we played this weekend,” Potulny said. “They’re disciplined. They’re heavy. They play hard.”