First Place In WCHA On The Line With Weekend Tilt

First Place In WCHA On The Line With Weekend Tilt

MARQUETTE, Mich. -  The Wildcat hockey program of Northern Michigan University concludes it's six-game home stand this coming weekend against the University of Alaska Nanooks, November 15-16. The games are slated to begin at 7:07 p.m. Friday before a 6:07 p.m. start on Saturday at the Berry Events Center. 

During the home stretch thus far, the Wildcats have posted a 2-1-1 record, including two overtime games against former WCHA foe St. Cloud State University last weekend.

The Wildcats and Nanooks are currently tied for second in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with 12 points a piece with Northern Michigan currently the only undefeated team in league play this season (4-0-0-0). With No. 1/1 Minnesota State Mankato sitting idle this weekend, the series between the Wildcats and Nanooks could take determine lone possesion of first in the WCHA with four or more points. 

WEEKLY NOTES

  AGAINST THE NANOOKS

 

All-time, the Wildcats lead the Nanooks 42-14-12 and are 24-3-7 at home. Last season the Wildcats swept their WCHA foe on the road at the Carlson Center, 4-0 and 4-2. The Wildcats then hosted the Nanooks for the first round of playoffs where they earned a bid to the WCHA semifinals behind a 5-4 double overtime victory on Friday night before a 4-3 win on Saturday. Joseph Nardi netted the game winner halfway through the second overtime period for the advantage heading into game two of the best-of-three series. He was assisted by current Wildcats Griffin Loughran and Philip Beaulieu.

  FOLLOW ALONG

Social Media: https://twitter.com/NMU_Wildcats and https://twitter.com/NMUHockey

Radio: http://www.rrnsports.com/

Live Stats: http://nmuwildcats.com/sports/mice/2019-20/boxscores/20191115_01xn.xml

Video: http://bit.ly/32loSGT

  LAST TIME OUT

Northern Michigan battled back time after time against St. Cloud State, erasing multiple three-goal deficits to send both contests to overtime November 8-9. Ultimately, the Wildcats went 0-1-1 on the weekend with a 3-3 tie on Friday night before falling late in the overtime frame on Saturday, 5-4. 

Three individuals posted three-point nights on the weekend, including Vincent de Mey (Friday, 1-2-3), Griffin Loughran (Saturday, 1-2-3) and Hank Sorensen (Friday, 0-3-3). Andre Ghantous recorded a career-high two goals on Friday as the Wildcats posted three power play goals. Their three goals, within 2:02 of each other was their second come-from-behind tilt of the year following their 4-4 overtime final at Boston University in October where the team erased another three-goal deficit late in the third period.

History looked to repeat itself Saturday night when Northern Michigan found itself down 4-1 with 11:30 to go in the game. Luke Voltin sparked the rally with a goal at 9:31 elapsed in the final frame before Loughran and Ty Readman posted goals of their own within a 1:50 span to knot the game at four. The Wildcats eventually fell during the overtime frame when St. Cloud's Perbix scored with 1:07 remaining for the 5-4 final.

  NATIONAL RANKINGS

The Wildcats broke into the national rankings following their sweep at Ferris State before moving to No. 18/RV heading into their home series against Alaska this weekend.

  • Griffin Loughran's team-leading nine goals ranks first in the nation and fifth in goals per game (0.90). His classmate Vincent de Mey is 10th in goals per game with eight through 10 games (0.80).
  • With the first goal in Friday's five-on-three, Vincent de Mey's five goals on the power play ranks second nationally while Loughran and Ghantous' three a piece is seventh in the country. They are all part of the seventh-best power play unit, finding success 27.1 percent of the time.
  • Posting two game-winners at Ferris State, sophomore forward Griffin Loughran is second in the nation in game-winning goals with three.
  • Loughran also ranks among the nation's best in goals per game (fourth, 1.00) and power play goals (fourth, 3).
  • Vincent de Mey's power play tally in the first period of Saturday's game gives him the nation's lead in that category and his fourth of the season.
  • At the last line of defense, Nolan Kent ranks in the top-15 of goaltenders in the nation, sitting 13th nationally with a .750 percentage behind a 3-1-0 record.
  • Rookie netminder John Hawthorne also ranks ninth in shutouts following the 2-0 win in his first career start.
  • The team has the eighth best scoring offense, averaging 3.90 goals per game and their .700 win percentage is 12th in the nation.
  AWARD WINNERS

Vincent de Mey (forward) and Andre Ghantous (rookie) both earned Player of the Week honors following the St. Cloud State series. Ghantous, who posted a career-high two goals on Friday night, followed up by a goal Saturday now boasts a six-game point-streak (6-1-7) as well as a four-game goal-streak (5-0-5). De Mey tallied three points in Friday's tie, all on the power play, for a career-high night and led the league in power play and overall points for the weekend. He also recorded an assist on Saturday night for a four-point weekend. The Rookie of the Week honor was Ghantous' first WCHA recognition while being named Forward of the Week was de Mey's third of the season and his career.

De Mey was also named WCHA Forward of the Month for October. As the month came to a close, de Mey had found the back of the net in five different games while his three goals on the power play ranked second in the nation and his six goals and eight total points ranked tied for first among all Wildcats. Through the first four games of the season, de Mey had matched his rookie total of five goals, which includes recording his first career multi-goal game (two) in a 4-3 victory at then-No. 20/RV Boston University. 

Averaging 1.00 goals per game through the first month of competition, de Mey ranked third nationally and sat second in the league in overall point-scoring with 1.50 points per game. He led the WCHA in total goals (six) and recorded the most points on the power play of any WCHA member with three goals and an assist for four total points. His streak helped carry the Northern Michigan Wildcats to their first four-win opening month since 2017-18 (4-2-0) and strongest start by win percentage since the 2014-15 season (4-0-1).

Previous Wildcat honors include Vincent de Mey who was named WCHA Forward of the Week following his three-point weekend against Michigan State. He earned the honor for the second consecutive week after his three-goal weekend at Boston University. Griffin Loughran and Nolan Kent also earned WCHA recognition following the Wildcats' first weekend sweep of the season at Ferris State.

  NEW AT HOME IN 2019-20

New this season, a hospitality room will be available for fans to purchase tickets to ahead of time. Located in the Wildcat Room of the Berry Events Center, admission will include a pre-game dinner buffet, bar, snacks and coat check.

Single game tickets are now on sale for the NMU Hockey Hospitality Room and can only be purchased in advance of the game not on the night of the game. 

  • Single game tickets are $30 per ticket/person
  • Season tickets are $360 per ticket/person
  • Half season tickets are $200 per ticket/person (either Friday or Saturday)

 Your ticket to the hospitality room includes:  

  • Pre-game dinner buffet (e.g., burger bar, gourmet pizza, pulled pork station, etc.) served from 5:45 - 7:07 p.m. on Fridays and 4:45 - 6:07 p.m. on Saturdays 
  • 2 drink tickets per game (i.e., soda, water, beer, wine, and call liquor) to be used during pre-game or intermissions
  • Coat check
  • Intermission snacks (e.g., pretzels, popcorn, etc.)

Tickets can be purchased through NMU ticketing (online at tickets.nmu.edu or through the various ticket outlets). The NMU Ticket Office at the Berry Events Center is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by calling 906-227-1032. Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be available the night of the game.    
-Tickets are limited and will be sold on a first come, first served basis. 

-Entrance to the room will be limited to ticket-bearers, alcohol sales will be limited to those over 21 with valid ID. 

-Tickets are issued on a game-by-game basis (similarly to hockey tickets). The ticket bearer will then be exchange their ticket at the entrance to the Wildcat Room for drink tickets and room access for the night. This will also then allow you to have the flexibility to have different users use the tickets on different nights if you use the season ticket option (similarly to season hockey tickets). 

-Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be available the night of the game. 

  ON THE RETURNERS

Seventeen members of the 2018-19 squad will lace their skates up again for the Wildcats this season. Nolan Kent looks strong in net as the last line of defense, taking over for all-time Wildcat program leader Atte Tolvanen who was named WCHA Goaltender of the Year in 2018-19. On the blueline, the Wildcats return three members of last season's team, including reigning WCHA Defenseman of the Year in senior captain Philip Beaulieu. He is joined by fellow senior Rylan Yaremko and junior Adam Roeder. Eleven Wildcats are back at the front, in two seniors, three juniors and six sophomores. The offense talent amassed 114 of the Wildcats' total 282 points last season.

  FRESH FACES

The Wildcats add nine newcomers to the team in 2019-20 as well as junior defenseman, Ben Newhouse, who sat out the 2018-19 season due to transfer requirements. The team also added three goaltenders in the offseason, two of which look to split time between the pipes with sophomore netminder, Nolan Kent

  MAKING UP POINTS

In the off-season, Northern Michigan lost 46% of their point-scoring to graduation but the 2019-20 squad seems poised to fill those shoes. Two rising seniors made up part of the team's top-five scorers last year in Philip Beaulieu (6-29-35) and Darien Craighead (10-10-20). The veteran duo now looks to lead the young team to even more time in the offensive zone

  PRESEASON RANKINGS

The Wildcats were pegged to finish fourth in the WCHA this season as voted on by the league's coaches in the 2019-20 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches' Poll. The media picked Northern Michigan to finish third through the regular season, behind only unanimous favorite Minnesota State and Bowling Green.

  2019-20 CAPTAINS

Having served as an alternate captain in 2018-19, senior defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minn.) was named captain of the 2019-20 squad prior to the season.

  YEAR THREE UNDER COACH POTULNY

The third head coach in NMU Hockey history enters his third season behind the bench in 2019-20. In two seasons with the team, Potulny has led the Wildcats to two 20+ win seasons and boasts a career head coaching record of 46-31-5. Last season the team went 21-16-2, which included a berth in the WCHA semifinals where they faced Bowling Green. In his first season at the helm of the Wildcats, Potulny's team recorded a 25-15-3 season, it's first 25-win season since 2001-02 and advanced to the WCHA Championship game. 

  50 YEARS OF WOMEN IN SPORT

Throughout the 2019-20 season, the Wildcats will celebrate the history of Women's Sports at Northern Michigan. Fans are encouraged to contribute with their favorite and most memorable moments and athletes of NMU women's sports. Please go to THIS LINK to contribute your favorite or most memorable moment and athletes. More information on this year's celebration can be found HERE.

  UP NEXT

Following the conclusion of their six-game home stand, the Wildcats will take part in a home-and-home series with the Huskies of Michigan Tech. The team will travel to Houghton, Michigan on Friday for a 7:07 p.m. puck drop before returning to the Berry Events Center Saturday evening at 6:07 p.m.