HOME ADVANTAGE — The Wildcats return home this weekend for the first regular-season home games of the new year.
HOME ADVANTAGE — The Wildcats return home this weekend for the first regular-season home games of the new year.
Molly Birch

Men’s Hockey looks for redemption against St. Thomas Tommies

The ‘Cats drop weekend games against LSSU, look forward to redemption against current conference leaders.

This past weekend, the Northern Michigan men’s hockey team hit the road to face off against CCHA opponent, the Lake Superior State Lakers. The Wildcats went 0-2 on the weekend, dropping both games with a 5-1 score on Friday night and a 5-2 score on Saturday night. The ‘Cats return to Marquette this Friday, Jan. 19 and Saturday, Jan. 20 to play the St. Thomas Tommies, another CCHA opponent. 

On Friday night, the Wildcats started out blocking five shots in the first five minutes of the period. Senior forward Mikey Colella had the first goal of the game for the ‘Cats with a shorthanded breakaway goal. The score was 1-0 for NMU to start the second period.

In the first 16 seconds of the second period, the Lakers tied the score with a breakaway goal. Nearly two minutes later, Lake State scored a power play goal to pull ahead of the Wildcats. To finish the period, the Lakers scored a rebound goal in front of NMU’s net, giving Lake State a two-goal lead. In the third period, LSSU went on to score two more goals, ending the game 5-1 overall. 

“We probably had a false sense of where we were so [we’re] very humbled and [it’s] time to get back to work,” Head Coach Grant Potulny said. “We have to find a way to become mentally tougher… through practice… to build confidence, to get to a point where if they do score or something does go the wrong way against us it doesn’t snowball.” 

Story continues below advertisement

In the game on Saturday night, the Wildcats started the scoring again with redshirt sophomore Reilly Funk, who redirected sophomore Zach Michaelis’s shot. Despite being outshot 15-9 by the Lakers, the ‘Cats ended the period 1-0.

NMU was able to hold off LSSU for the first 15 minutes of the second period, but the Lakers were able to score three straight goals in the final five minutes of the period to head back to the locker room 3-1 over the Wildcats. 

Molly Birch

The ‘Cats started the third period on the penalty kill, where the Lakers took advantage and scored their fourth. After a scoreless 14-minute battle, the Wildcats’ Kevin Marx Noren squeaked a goal past the Lakers’ goaltender. LSSU closed out the game with an empty-net goal to finalize a 5-2 score. NMU dropped their overall record to 7-11-2 and their conference record to 5-7-0. 

“Do our goalies need to play better? Yes, they do, but so does the rest of our group, so like I said after the game on Friday, … I’d love to play the same 12 forwards and [the] same six D and the same goalie every game for the rest of the year so [that] means you’re playing well,” Potulny said.

This weekend, NMU will host CCHA opponent, St. Thomas. The Tommies are currently sitting at the top of the conference with an overall record of 11-10-1 and a conference record of 9-5-0. UST is coming off of a weekend sweep against MTU, defeating the Huskies 4-3 on Thursday night and 4-1 on Saturday night. 

The Wildcats have several players who are CCHA stat leaders:

  • Artem Shlaine leads the CCHA in face-off winning percentage (0.589)
  • Aiden Gallacher leads the conference in blocked shots (49)
  • Tanner Latsch leads the conference in goals per game (0.88) and is third overall with power play goals (6)
  • Andre Ghantous is second in overall assists (15) and assists per game (0.75)
  • Mikey Colella is third overall in shorthanded goals (2)

“[If] you watch St. Thomas right now, they’re playing with confidence, they’re playing fast, they’re physical, they’re playing a very good brand [of] hockey and we need to find a way to get ourselves back to playing Wildcat hockey… so that’s been the focus of our practices this week,” Potulny said.

The Wildcats are set to play on Friday at 7:07 p.m. and Saturday at 6:07 p.m. where they will look to even the score against the Tommies, who defeated the ‘Cats in a weekend sweep earlier in the season.

More to Discover