MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team will host a best-of-three series against Bowling Green State in the first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs this weekend from the Berry Events Center. NMU (14-17-5, 12-13-3-0 CCHA) is the number six seed while BGSU (8-24-4, 3-21-4-2 CCHA) is the number 11 seed. Game time for Friday (March 4) and Saturday (March 5) is set for 7:35 p.m. If necessary, game three will be held on Sunday (March 6) at 7:35 p.m.
The Wildcats enter postseason play having lost two in a row. NMU was undefeated in the previous four games before the regular season series finale with Michigan. Bowling Green is winless in its last eight and last won against Lake Superior State on Jan. 29.
NMU is 2-1-1 over the Falcons this season. Reid Ellingson has been in the net for all four games for the Wildcats,giving up seven goals and making 99 saves.The two teams met for the first time this season in Marquette on Nov. 12 and 13. The ‘Cats won (5-1) on Friday night after Phil Fox buried the first two goals of the game. Tyler Gron, Andrew Cherniwchan and Kory Kaunisto added goals for NMU as Ellingson made 15 saves. Bowling Green picked up a 2-1 victory on Saturday over NMU, scoring the first two goals before Fox added his third of the weekend early in the third period.
NMU traveled to Bowling Green on Feb. 18 and 19. The teams tied 2-2 on Friday night and the Falcons went on to win the shootout after NMU failed to score. Justin Florek and Fox scored the first two goals of the game before BGSU battled back to tie it early in the third. NMU picked up the victory on Saturday with a 3-2 win. Fox scored two more goals and Greger Hanson added the third and Ellingson made 26 saves.
Bowling Green leads the all-time series 34-31-7. NMU leads the series in Marquette, 21-12-5. The teams last met in the CCHA Tournament back in 1982 when NMU won both nights in the quarterfinals.
Head coach Walt Kyle is hoping leading scorer Tyler Gron can return this weekend. Gron has been out since the Michigan State series (Feb. 11-12) due to injury. He leads the team in scoring with 16 goals. He also has 15 assists, making him 12th in the league in overall scoring. Florek has 13 goals and 14 assists while senior captain Phil Fox has scored six of his 11 goals—this year—against Falcons.
Jordan Samuels-Thomas leads the Falcons with eight goals and 10 assists. Brett Mohler, Marc Rodriguez and David Solway are all tied for second on the team with 15 points. Andrew Hammond has started 20 games in the net, stopping 91.3 percent of shots with a 2.59 goals against average.
A Blue Line Club Luncheon will be held on Friday (March 4) at noon in the Peter White Lounge of University Center. Tickets for the event are $9 and all are welcome.
Tickets for the games are $15 for adults and $5 for hockey fans under the age of 18, including all NMU students with ID. Come out and support the ‘Cats for the final time this season as NMU tries to make it to the CCHA final four for the fourth straight year.
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