Hockey 'Cats Head to Kalamazoo
MARQUETTE, Mich.--The Northern Michigan University Hockey Wildcats (11-11-4, 9-7-2 CCHA) will hit road this weekend for a date with the Western Michigan University Broncos (12-6-8, 6-5-7 CCHA) in Kalamazoo, Mich. at the Lawson Ice Arena (Jan 28-29). The puck is set to drop at 7:35 p.m. on both nights. The ‘Cats are coming off an impressive weekend after sweeping the Ferris State University Bulldogs, which moved them up four sports in the standings. NMU is now tied for fourth place with WMU and FSU.
This will be the second time the two clubs will skate against each other in regular season play. Last month NMU won, 3-1, in the first game and lost, 4-4, in an overtime shootout (0-1) to conclude the weekend series. Both games were played very physically by both teams and it looks like it will continue this weekend as each team is gearing to move up in the standings.
The Wildcats will look to junior Justin Florek (Marquette, Mich.) to keep the team moving forward. Florek has scored a goal in each of the last three games for the ‘Cats. Florek now has 10 goals on the season and 10 assists. Junior forward Tyler Gron (Spruce Grove, Alta.) still leads the team in goals with 12 on the season and 22 points. Greger Hanson (Lindigo, Sweden) leads the team with 13 assists after picking up two over the weekend. In between the pipes the ‘Cats went with junior Reid Ellingson (Cloquet, Minn.) against the Bulldogs and improved his record to 6-3-2 on the season. Ellingson is currently ranked second overall in the CCHA in save percentage (.922) after recorded 64 saves on the weekend giving up just two goals.
WMU is coming off a series against Lake Superior State where both clubs skated to shootouts for the weekend. The Broncos won the shootout, 3-1, on Saturday before dropping Saturdays, 0-1. WMU has gone to a shootout in their last three games including one with Ohio State prior to their matchup with the Lakers. The Broncos have also not lost in regulation since Dec. 10, against LSSU, 2-5. WMU is lead by senior Max Campbell (Strathroy, Ont.) who has 13 goals and 11 assists on the season. Freshman Chase Balisy (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) is second on the team with nine goals which have all been against CCHA opponents. In net senior Jerry Kuhn (Southgate, Mich) who is 3-0-4 with a .922 save percentage in conference games this season.
This will be the first time NMU has been on the road since when they played New Years Day series in Denver, Co. The ‘Cats have a record of 44-19-7 against the Broncos and 16-11-1 in Lawson Ice Arena. The last time the ‘Cats played in Kalamazoo was back in January of 2009 when they swept the Broncos coming away with victories of 6-5 and 4-3. NMU will be back at the Berry Events Center on Friday, Feb. 4, with a weekend matchup between Lake Superior State.