M Hockey: Wildcats drop Mason Cup Final to Mankato, 3-2 OT


Molly Birch/NW

BITTER SWEET – The Wildcats were able to go on a run for a chance at the Mason Cup but fell short against Mankato. The ‘Cats end their season 21-17.

Chris Anderson

The Wildcats season has come to an end after a heartbreaking loss in overtime to the Minnesota State Mavericks. NMU was able to build a two-goal lead midway through the third period but two late goals by the Mavericks tied the game with less than 60 seconds left in the match.

NMU had gone 6-1 to finish off the season leading into their first-round matchup against Bemidji State in the Mason cup series. Freshman Joey Larson scored two of the seven goals for the ‘Cats in the 7-3 win over the Beavers in the first matchup.

The momentum the ‘Cats built themselves after a tumultuous start to the 2022-23 season followed them into the first round with two big wins over the Beavers to advance to the semi final round against rival Michigan Tech.

The Wildcats traveled to Houghton, MI for the second-round matchup and freshman goalie Beni Halasz came up huge with 44 saves in the 4-0 win over the Huskies. Halasz posted his third shutout this season and four separate Wildcats were able to find the back of the net against the Huskies. Halasz, along with Joey Larson and Josh Zinger all made the All-CCHA Rookie team for the Wildcats this season.

The Win over the Huskies gave the ‘Cats the chance to play in the Mason Cup final against the Mavericks in Mankato, MN. NMU’s Alex Frye was able to get hot late in the matchup, scoring two goals putting the ‘Cats up late. Unfortunately, the Mavericks stormed back with two goals of their own and wound up winning with a quick goal in overtime to outlast the ‘Cats 3-2.

With that loss, the ‘Cats were unable to earn a bid into the NCAA tournament, ending their season with a 21-17 record. Coach Potulny’s process-based culture that has been instilled in the program as of late will pair well with the talent that has emerged this season. With three players earning All-CCHA Rookie honors the Wildcats future looks bright as they look ahead to next season.