MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Wildcat hockey team travels south for their first true road series of the season when they face off against No. 8 Bowling Green State University, Jan. 15-16. Puck drop for both nights is set for 7:07 p.m.
The Wildcats last made the trek to Ohio in 2019-20 where they earned a weekend sweep over the Falcons courtesy of a late offensive surge, featuring three goals in the final 64 seconds of regulation and overtime.
The series will be the final non-conference games for Northern Michigan University’s team this season.
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Their most recent meeting saw the Wildcats sweep the then-11th ranked Falcons in Ohio last season. Night one consisted of five goals by Wildcat players, including two current members accounting for three of the goals. Hank Sorensen found success early in the second period of game one before Griffin Loughran scored twice in the third to secure the Wildcat victory.
Game two saw the Wildcats down 3-1 with just over a minute to play in regulation before Joseph Nardi sparked NMU hopes at 18:56 to bring his team within a goal of the Falcons. Grant Loven scored just 24 seconds later to knot things at 3-3, with an assist to Nardi. Former Wildcat Darien Craighead tallied the game winner when he rushed down the ice and beat Dop between the pipes at 4:13 of overtime.
Five current Wildcats recorded a multi-point weekend at BGSU in 2019-20, including Loughran (3-1-4) and Nardi (1-3-4) with four points. Now-sophomore AJ Vanderbeck made his collegiate debut in the series, posting three assists.
Nolan Kent was named WCHA Goaltender of the Week following the conference games, posting 77 saves, including tying his career-high of 39 saves to backstop his team to the overtime victory and sweep on Saturday night.
All-time, the Falcons hold a narrow edge in victories, owning a 51-53-9 record over the Wildcats. On the road in Ohio, NMU is 22-27-3 in all-time meetings.
Live Stats (Fri.): https://bgsufalcons.com/sidearmstats/mhockey/summary
Live Stats (Sat.): https://bgsufalcons.com/sidearmstats/mhockey/summary
The Wildcats most recently met Lake Superior State University in a two-game non-conference series in Marquette. The offensive woes continued for NMU in game one, finally snapping their scoring drought at 5:55 of the third period when Joseph Nardi found the back of the net on the power play for the ‘Cats’ first goal in 165:55. Wildcat newcomer, Alex Frye, tallied his first point with NMU on the goal after being credited with the primary assist.
NMU came out with a vengeance on Saturday night, striking first at 7:43 when Ty Readman buried the puck past Mitens for the 1-0 lead. Frye net his first career goal as a Wildcat nearly three minutes into the following period to give the Wildcats the 2-0 lead.
The Lakers tied things up at 17:27 of the third to force the overtime period where they would ultimately score the power play game-winner just 26 seconds in to hand the Wildcats a sweep.
- AJ Vanderbeck ranks 14th in the nation in goals per game, averaging 0.62 off five goals in just eight games.
- Joseph Nardi‘s two game-winning goals is tied for 8th among Division I players.
On Tuesday, January 5, a voice synonymous with NMU Hockey announced his retirement. Serving as the PA announcer since 1976, Tim McIntosh spent 44 years announcing Wildcat hockey games and his legendary “WWWWILDCAT GOAL” will forever ring through the Berry Events Center. Northern Michigan University Athletics and the NMU Hockey program wish to thank Tim for his years of dedication to their program.
The Wildcats saw eight individuals honored with weekly league recognition on 12 occasions in 2019-20. Of those honorees, seven are back on the line chart for the coming season, for a total of 11 weekly honors as well as three WCHA Player of the Month recipients.
NMU brings back 18 individuals who saw ice-time in the 2019-20 season, including all three goaltenders and three of its top-four scorers. The team returns 79 goals from the 2019-20 season as well as 219 points, including league-leading scorer Griffin Loughran who posted 39 points (23-16-39) as a sophomore.
After sitting out the 2019-20 season due to transfer requirements, Keefer looks poised to make an impact on the offensive side of the puck while Ryckman will likely battle returning Wildcat goaltender Nolan Kent for the starting position.
Jett Jungels returns to the lineup having sat out last season due to injury. He will provide a veteran look to the rookie class.
Joining him at forward are seven others who all dominated at the junior level and look to contribute to the Wildcat offensive efforts early.
At the blue line, the Wildcats look to replace former All-American captain Phil Beaulieu as they welcome four fresh faces who hope to make an immediate impact to the defensive efforts.
The Wildcats were pegged to finish fourth in the WCHA this season as voted on by the league’s coaches in the 2020-21 WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The media picked Northern Michigan to finish fourth as well through the regular season, behind only unanimous favorite Minnesota State, Bemidji State and Bowling Green.
Wildcat head coach Grant Potulny enters his fourth season behind the Wildcat bench. In three previous seasons with the team, Coach Potulny boasts a 64-47-9 record and has led the team to two 20+ win seasons in his three seasons at the helm. Last season the team ranked as high as 15th in the nation, their highest ranking under the current head coach. 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. 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.
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