Men’s Hockey defeats UP rival Michigan Tech in weekend sweep

CLEAN SWEEP — The NMU Wildcats increased their overall record after sweeping their rivals, the Michigan Tech Huskies.
CLEAN SWEEP — The NMU Wildcats increased their overall record after sweeping their rivals, the Michigan Tech Huskies.
Molly Birch

This past weekend, the Northern Michigan men’s hockey team faced off against CCHA rivals, the Michigan Tech Huskies. The Wildcats hosted the Huskies for a 4-1 win on Friday, Feb. 2 and MTU hosted NMU for a shootout win on Saturday, Feb. 3. In the official scores, the second game counts as a tie but the ‘Cats still increased their lead to 9-13-4 overall and 7-9-2 in the conference.

Molly Birch

In the game on Friday, Michael Mesic opened up the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, assisted by Mitch Deelstra. As the first period was winding down, the Wildcats’ Captain Artem Shlaine increased their lead with a power play goal.

Just eight minutes into the second period, Rylan Van Unen rapidly skated past the Huskies’ defenders with a top shelf shot, increasing the Wildcat lead yet again. Shortly after, MTU had their first goal of the night to end the second period. In the final period, the ‘Cats were granted the power play while Shlaine took advantage and finalized the score 4-1. 

“I mean even right from the start of the game, I thought we were into it and 20 shots … in the first period and I felt like that second goal is important to get to two nothing and then we were just always able to extend it to keep it at a three or two goal lead,” Head Coach Grant Potulny said. “For us it was the fifth game in a row where we only allowed 20 some shots.”

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On Saturday in Houghton, the Wildcats had another strong start with an opening goal from Connor Eddy. The Huskies answered back with two quick goals before the end of the period.

Nearly eight minutes into the next period, the ‘Cats had a power play goal from Kristof Papp. MTU kept the lead with a power play goal of their own closing out the period. In the third period with just under five minutes left in the game, Michael Colella tied the score to send both teams to overtime. 

After two quiet overtime periods, the teams went into a shootout. Tech scored from their first shot but ‘Cats Goaltender Beni Halasz stayed solid and kept their other two shots out of the net. As for the Wildcat shooters, Matvei Kabanov and Colella snuck goals past the Huskie goaltender to take the weekend sweep. 

Molly Birch

“So, Saturday we gave up more shots than we liked but I still think for the most part we defended pretty well on Saturday too. They … got two power play goals that [didn’t] break down the structure,” Potulny said. 

After the clean sweep from NMU, Freshman Wildcat Kevin Marx Noren was awarded CCHA rookie of the week honors for his four assists on the weekend, two in each game. Marx Noren led the conference in assists for the weekend. 

The ‘Cats look ahead to playing another CCHA opponent, the Bemidji State Beavers. The Wildcats and Beavers face off in Marquette on Friday, Feb. 9 at 6:07 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7:07 p.m. Bemidji has an overall record of 10-15-1 and a conference record of 8-7-1. The Beavers are currently sitting at fourth in the CCHA conference and are unranked nationally.

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