MARQUETE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Hockey Wildcats (13-15-4, 11-11-2 CCHA) will hit the road for the last time in regular season play this year when they take on Bowling Green State University (8-21-2, 3-18-3 CCHA) for a pair of Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) conference games. Action gets underway Friday night inside the BGSU Ice Arena at 7 p.m. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. on Saturday night as well. The Wildcats haven’t played in Bowling Green since November of 2008 when they were swept (2-1 in OT, 2-1).
After last weekend’s sweep over Michigan State NMU now sits in a three-way tie for sixth place in the CCHA with Lake Superior State and Alaska. The ‘Cats are three points behind number five Ferris State and four points ahead of number nine Ohio State. The teams finishing in the top five in the standings will receive byes in the first round of the CCHA play-offs while those finishing six through eight will host those finishing nine through 12. The first round of the CCHA play-offs will be March 4-6.
Tyler Gron recorded his first career hat trick on Saturday (Feb. 12) in the Wildcats 6-5 victory over Michigan State. Gron’s hat trick marked the Wildcat’s first since Feb. 2008 when Nick Sirota had a hat trick against Michigan State. Gron is currently in eighth place in point scoring in the CCHA with 31 points in 31 games; fifth in goal scoring with 16 goals in 31 games. Gron is also in eighth place in conference point scoring with 24 points in 23 games; and fifth in goal scoring with 12 goals in 23 games. Justin Florek is second on the team in points with 22 and has recorded 12 goals. Greger Hanson is second on the team in goals scored with 15.
In between the pipes the ‘Cats continue splitting time with junior Reid Ellingson, and freshmen Jared Coreau. Ellingson has logged 1291:23 minutes with a record of 8-10-2 and Coreau has played in seven games earning 643:05 minutes of play with a record of 5-5-2. Both were in goal in Saturday night’s 6-5 win over the Spartans.
This season has been a learning experience for the Falcons with first year head coach Chris Bergeron. BGSU is currently on a three game losing streak and last recorded a win on Jan. 29 against Lake Superior State (2-1) and was the clubs only win of 2011. Leading the Falcons with 18 points is Jordan Samuels-Thomas as he has a team high eight goals and 10 assists. David Solway and Camden Wojtala each have 10 assists as well for the season. The goaltending duties have been split between Andrew Hammond and Nick Eno. Hammond is 4-12-2 with a 2.70 goal-against average and a .912 save-percentage. Eno is 4-9-1 with a 3.19 goal-against average and a .885 save-percentage.
NMU is currently 32-33-7 overall against the Falcons, 22-13-5 at home, 10-19-2 in Bowling Green, and 0-1-0 at neutral sites.
As the Wildcats sit in a three-way tie for sixth place in the CCHA and with only 12 available points left in the season the ‘Cats will look to gain points on the weekend to keep their hopes of either hosting a first round play-off series or receiving a bye alive.
NMU will be back at the Berry Events Center on Feb. 25 when they host the University of Michigan Wolverines for “Senior Weekend,” at the Berry Events Center.