CLOSING TIME — NMU mens hockey finishes off the year in Mankato, Minnesota in the first round of CCHA playoffs.
CLOSING TIME — NMU men’s hockey finishes off the year in Mankato, Minnesota in the first round of CCHA playoffs.
Molly Birch

Men’s Hockey season comes to a close after loss in first round of CCHA playoffs

This past weekend, the Northern Michigan men’s hockey team played the final games of their 2023-24 season against the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks. The ‘Cats lost in the first round of the CCHA playoffs, dropping both Friday and Saturday’s games 2-1 and 6-1, respectively. The Wildcats ended with a record of 12-16-6 overall and 10-10-4 in the conference. 

On Friday, March 8, the ‘Cats traveled to Mankato to take on the Mavericks in the CCHA quarterfinals. The Mavericks had the first goal of the game that came from a scramble in front of the net late in the third period. In the second period, Minnesota State was able to sneak another goal in the net to increase their lead by two goals. Senior Rylan Van Unen scored a goal to give hope back to the ‘Cats in the third. However, NMU was unable to tie the score before the buzzer and ended the game 2-1. 

In Saturday’s game on March 9, the ‘Cats had a hopeful start with the opening goal of the game from senior Andre Ghantous. The Mavericks had six unanswered goals throughout the rest of the game to end NMU’s season with a 6-1 defeat. Ghantous played in his 170th game to finish his college career and was the 10th Wildcat to have over 50 goals and over 100 assists. 

The ‘Cats said farewell to eight seniors Artem Shlaine, Kristof Papp, Michael Colella, Rylan Van Unen, Mitch Deelstra, Aiden Gallacher, Colby Enns and Tyrell Boucher.

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Sophomore Josh Zinger was named Second Team All-CCHA after having a three-goal and nine-assist year. Ghantous finished on the top of the CCHA in total assists (23) and second overall in assists per game (0.68). Shlaine finished first overall in the CCHA with a face-off win percentage with 315 total face-off wins and 0.588 percentage. Gallacher was No. 1 in blocked shots with 78 overall.

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