Wildcats Begin WCHA Schedule at Ferris State

Wildcats Begin WCHA Schedule at Ferris State

MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (1-1, 0-0 WCHA) begins the season's Western Collegiate Hockey Associations slate with a pair of matchups at Ferris State University (1-1, 0-0 WCHA) Friday and Saturday. Both games in Big Rapids, Michigan, are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.

Live stats and live video can be found at nmuwildcats.com, while there will also be in-game updates on Twitter at @NMU_Wildcats.

Weekly Notes:

Opening Weekend. Each team took a victory in the home-and-home series with Lake Superior State to begin the 2017-18 campaign. The Lakers took Friday's season opener, 5-3, in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, while the Wildcats won their home-opener Saturday, 4-1.

Payne Nabs WCHA Weekly Honor. Senior forward Robbie Payne earned the first WCHA Offensive Player of the Week award for the 2017-18 season after his four-goal weekend. Payne leads the league in goal and plus/minus (+3) after the first series, while he is also one of three tied for the NCAA lead in goals. It is the third time in his career that Payne has earned the honor, doing so twice a season ago.

Loggins Lends a Helping Hand. Junior forward Troy Loggins leads the Wildcats in assists after the opening weekend. The Huntington Beach, California native recorded a pair of assists in each game, putting his season total at four and his career total to 13. Three of his four assists on the weekend went to WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, Robbie Payne, while the fourth went to sophomore Philip Beaulieu on Saturday.

Familiar Face in Goal. Junior goalie Atte Tolvanen got the start in both of the contests over the weekend. On Friday, he recorded 21 saves on 26 shots. In Saturday's victory at home, Tolvanen stopped 20 shots to bring his season total to 41 saves.

Pushing the Tempo. Despite Friday's loss NMU outscored LSSU 7-6 in the series. More Impressively, the Wildcats outshot their opponents in both contests, totaling a 65-47 advantage. Last season, NMU was outshot by nearly 10 per game.

Entering the Reign of Potulny. Grant Potulny is in his first season at the helm of the Wildcats. After the first weekend of play, Potulny owns a 1-1 mark at NMU. As an eight-year assistant coach at his alma mater, Minnesota, Potulny helped the Gophers to a 182-105-26 (.623) record and two Frozen Four appearances.

NMU versus Ferris State. The two programs have competed 90 times in the past with NMU owning a 54-30-6 mark over the span. The Wildcats took on the Bulldogs twice a season ago over the weekend of October 21-22, 2016. NMU won the first game, 6-4, while they tied, 2-2, in the second but took the shootout loss.

2017-18 Captains. A trio of wildcats were named captains after a vote by their teammates. Senior forwards Robbie Payne and Zach Diamantoni will be co-captains for this years' campaign. Senior defenseman Jordan Klimek was selected as the alternate captain.

2017 Preseason Rankings. The Wildcats were chosen to finish seventh in both the Mankato Free Press Coaches' Poll and the UAHHockey.com Preseason Media Poll. Minnesota State University Mankato, Bemidji State University, and Michigan Technological University were picked to finish first, second, and third in both polls.