MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Hockey Wildcats (11-15-4, 9-11-2 CCHA) will travel to East Lansing this weekend to take on the Michigan State Spartans (12-14-4, 8-12-2 CCHA) at Munn Ice Arena in a pair of Central Collegiate Hockey Association games on Friday and Saturday, February 11-12. On Friday (Feb. 11) the puck will drop at 7:05 p.m. and the game will be televised on Comcast. Saturday (Feb. 12) night’s game is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit Plus.
After a winless weekend at home against Lake Superior State, NMU is on a four-game losing streak. Saturday’s (Feb. 5) shutout loss to the Lakers was the first time the Wildcats were shutout in conference play since losing to Miami, 4-0, on Oct. 22. NMU was also shut out this season (Nov. 27) against Bemidji State 3-0.
The Wildcats are 25-32-3 all-time against the Spartans, 13-10-1 at home, 8-18-2 away, and 4-4-0 at neutral sites. In Walt Kyle’s tenure the ‘Cats are 14-12-1 against the Spartans, 4-8-1 away, 2-0-0 at neutral sites. The Wildcat’s haven’t played in East Lansing since October of 2008 when the ‘Cats tied the Spartans 2-2 (SOL) on Friday and lost 2-0 on Saturday. MSU was ranked fourth in the CCHA preseason polls and currently sits one spot below NMU in 10th place in the CCHA.
The Michigan State Spartans have had their hands full this season. Legendary coach and former NMU head coach Rick Comley, has announced his retirement effective at the end of the season. Comley owns a 780-610-110 (.561) career record in 38 seasons and is one of just five coaches to surpass the 700-win plateau. He has recorded a 182-134-39 record in his MSU tenure. Comley ranks among the top five coaches all-time in wins and top three among active coaches and led NMU to their 1991 National Championship against Boston University. MSU is led by forward Brett Perlini with 25 goals. Dustin Galzey is second on the team with 10 goals and also is tied with two others with 10 assists on the season. Derek Grant leads the Spartans with 19 assists on the season. In net, Drew Palmisano is 13th in the CCHA with a 2.94 goals-against average and ranks 10th with a .904 save percentage for the Spartans.
The ‘Cats continue to be haunted by penalties as they are the most penalized team in the CCHA with 565 minutes in 30 games (18.8 penalty minutes/game). NMU has allowed the most goals (91) in the CCHA with 47 of those goals coming on the opponent’s power play. The NMU power play unit scores 17.2 percent of the time which is the fourth best rate in the CCHA. NMU is averaging 2.20 goals per game and just 23.3 shots on goal per game. Tyler Gron leads the ‘Cats in goals (12), assists (14) and points (26). Justin Florek is second in points with 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points.
Reid Ellingson was between the pipes last weekend. Ellingson stopped 52 shots on the weekend and has 596 saves on the season. He is currently has a .917 save percentage on the season which ranks him seventh in the CCHA.
NMU will be on the road next week as they head to Bowling Green for the last regular season road trip. The ‘Cats will be back at the Berry Events Center on Feb. 25 when they host the University of Michigan Wolverines.
Dave Danis will have the call on 100.3 FM "The Point."
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