Wildcats Host Conference Leader in Return to the Berry

Wildcats Host Conference Leader in Return to the Berry

MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (13-10-0, 12-4-0-0 WCHA) returns to the Berry Events Center this weekend after five weeks on break or on the road. The Wildcats will host No. 7 Minnesota State University, Mankato (19-6-1, 14-4-0-0 WCHA) on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.

After the conclusion of Saturday's contest, Casa Calabria will host a Fourth Period event. Fans are encouraged to head to Casa Calabria for food and drinks after the game.

For complete game notes, click HERE.


Fans can follow both contests this weekend using the links below. These links can also be found on the team schedule or composite calendar at NMUwildcats.com.

Twitter Updates: https://twitter.com/NMU_Wildcats
Friday Live Stats: https://bit.ly/2AWJiei
Saturday Live Stats: https://bit.ly/2DnnUjO
Live Audio: https://bit.ly/2oibr8T
Live Video: http://bit.ly/2OVPPdY 


The Wildcats second-consecutive weekend in Alaska ended the same way as the first, with a pair of road wins. NMU found a pair of goals late in the first period of Friday's matchup with the University of Alaska Anchorage before tying a season-high five goals in the victory. The Seawolves grabbed an early lead on Saturday and it took nearly 53 minutes for the Wildcats to find the back of the net. Once they did, though, NMU scored four goals in a five-minute stretch to seal a comeback win.


NMU has now won six-consecutive contests and 10 of their last 13 games. It is the longest streak of the season for the Wildcats and their longest since they earned seven straight wins during January of 2018. 


NMU will play some of the top teams in the WCHA the to end their regular season. Six of their remaining 12 games are against ranked opponents while each contest will be played against teams currently set for postseason play. With an NMU sweep and five points or less for Bowling Green, the Wildcats would move into the conference lead.


Senior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) continued his climb up the NMU record book over the weekend. After tying the career shutouts record with 12 two weekends ago, Tolvanen needs just 12 more games played and 323 saves to tie those NMU records. He is also within reach of the career goals against average and save percentage marks.


At the end of November, the Wildcats were averaging just 1.80 goals per game, nearly half of the team's 2017-18 average. Since, NMU has scored four-or-more goals in seven of their eight contest and raised their average to 2.52 goals per game. Senior forward Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) leads the Wildcats with 10 goals and 21 points this season and he has nine points over the teams last eight games. Sophomore forward Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alberta) has also seen an offensive outburst with five goals in eight games. Senior forward Denver Pierce (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) has four goals and four assists in the same span while Philip Beaulieu has 11 points on three goals and eight assists since the start of December.


Over the past three regular seasons, NMU has played their best hockey in the second half of the season. In each of the past two seasons, the team has owned the best record in the WCHA after the start of the new calendar year including a seven-game win streak last season en route to a conference final run. Since the 2015-16 campaign, the Wildcats are a combined 30-14-4 in the regular season after the calendar turns.


The Wildcats and Mavericks split their four matchups a season ago with MSU ranked in the top-10 in both series. This season, the Wildcats are six points behind the Mavericks for the top spot in the WCHA standings.