MARQUETTE, Michigan – The Northern Michigan University hockey ‘Cats will look to defend their home ice as they host the nationally ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 7-8, for a two-game Central Collegiate Hockey Association series. The puck will drop between the ‘Cats (9-9-4, 7-5-2-0 CCHA) and Irish (12-7-3, 9-4-1-1 CCHA) at 7:35 p.m. both nights at the Berry Events Center.
The ‘Cats are 5-3-1 at home in the 2010-11 season and have not played a series at home since before travelling to Notre Dame in December. In that December series in South Bend, Ind., the ‘Cats and Irish split. The Wildcats won 3-2 in the first game and the Irish bounced back to win 5-2 in the second. The Wildcats were happy to get out of South Bend with a split after being outshot 96 to 32 in the two games.
On the defensive front for the ‘Cats, defensive pair Scott Macaulay (sophomore, Winnipeg, Man.) and Kyle Follmer (sophomore, St. Paul, Minn.) combine for a total of 23 points and a +16 as Macaulay has one goal and 11 assists for 12 points and a +9. Follmer has four goals and seven assists for 11 points and is a +6. Between the pipes the Wildcats continue to alternate goalies as freshman Jared Coreau (Perth, Ont.) has appeared in nine games with eight starts while junior Reid Ellingson (Cloquet, Minn.) has appeared in 16 with 14 starts. Coreau has a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .930 save-percentage while Ellingson is 2.60 and .919, respectively.
Junior Tyler Gron (Spruce Grove, Alta.) continues to lead the ‘Cats offensively with 12 goals and eight assists for 20 points. Junior Justin Florek (Marquette, Mich) has seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points, six of those points coming in the last three games. Junior Andrew Cherniwchan (Hinton, Alta.) and senior Greger Hanson (Lidingo, Sweden) are both continuing to contribute as they have 14 points apiece on five goals and nine assists and three goals and 11 assists, respectively.
The Fighting Irish are currently in first place in the CCHA and are ranked 14 in the country. Freshman T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) leads the Irish with 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points while senior Ryan Guentzel (Woodbury, Minn.) has six goals and 18 assists for 24 points and freshman Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) has 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points. Sophomore Mike Johnson (Verona, Wis.) has been the go-to goaltender for Notre Dame as he is 9-5-3 this season appearing in 18 games with a 2.69 goals-against-average and a .897 save-percentage.
There are other events planned in conjunction with the series that include a Blue Line Club luncheon and a Fourth Period Party. The BLC luncheon will be held at 11:45 a.m. on Friday (Jan. 7) at the NMU University Center. The luncheon is open to the public and the cost of the luncheon is $9 per person. The Fourth Period Party will be held post-game on Saturday (Jan. 8) at Hudson’s Classic Bar and Grill. Fans are encouraged to attend the Fourth Period Party to visit with Wildcat Fans!