MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan hockey team takes its 3-game winning streak on the road to No. 15 Lake Superior State this weekend for a pair of Central Collegiate Hockey Association games. The puck will drop from Taffy Abel Arena at 7:05 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 9) and Saturday (Dec. 10).
NMU is 7-6-3 overall and 4-5-3-2 in the CCHA. The ‘Cats enter the weekend after sweeping No. 18 Miami last weekend from the Berry Events Center. Friday’s 2-1 win and Saturday’s 5-1 victory were good for the first conference sweep by the ‘Cats on the season.
Senior Tyler Gron was named CCHA Offensive Player of the Week after scoring a goal and having four assists last weekend. The 5-11 forward, a native of Spruce Grove, Alberta, scored a power-play goal on Friday night and added an assist on freshman defenseman Jake Baker’s game-winning goal. He added a career-high three assists on Saturday.
LSSU is 10-6-2 overall and 6-5-1-1 in the CCHA. The Lakers started the season on a 4-game win streak, and won seven their first eight games. Last weekend, LSSU was swept by No. 7 Ohio State. The Buckeyes won 5-2 on Friday (Dec. 2) and 2-1 on Saturday (Dec. 3). It was the first time of the season the Lakers were swept. LSSU is ranked No. 15 this week in both the USCHO.com and USA Today polls.
The last time the two teams faced each other was on Feb. 4-5 of last season in Marquette, with the Lakers taking the series. They split on Nov. 6-7 of last season in Sault Ste. Marie. NMU won the first game (4-1), and LSSU responded back to win the second night (3-1).
The ‘Cats lead the all-time series 57-32-10 dating back to 1976. However, the series in Sault Ste. Marie is a much closer 22-21-6 in favor of the ‘Cats. The two teams have each won five games in the last 10 meetings.
Gron has four goals and three assists in 11 career games against LSSU, while senior forward Justin Florek has three goals and five assists in 12 games. Senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan is the only other Wildcat to score against the Lakes.
The ‘Cats are first in the nation for combined special teams (61.8), second with 21.3 penalty minutes per game, third on the penalty kill (91.1) and 18th on the power-play (21.1). Florek is tied for third in the nation with six power-play goals. Junior defenseman Kyle Follmer is 32nd in defenseman scoring with .67 points per game. Senior goaltender Reid Ellingson is 13th with a 92.9 save percentage and 17th with 2.18 goals against. Sophomore goaltender Jared Coreau is 10th in the nation in winning percentage (70.0).
Checker Bus is offering a ride to Saturday night’s game. The bus will leave at 1 p.m. on Saturday and return on Sunday. Cost is $110 for a single and $150 for a double. The package includes the Checker Bus trip to LSSU, a room for Saturday night at Kewadin Resort and Casino, ticket for the hockey game, continental breakfast buffet on Sunday, $10 Kewadin cash and $10 in Kewadin food coupons. Call Dave at 906-361-7604 for more information.
This weekend’s games at LSSU will be a part of the fourth annual Pink in the Rink weekend. The game will benefit various local women’s health organizations. The first 2,500 fans to arrive on Friday will receive pink rally towels. On Saturday, the first 250 fans will receive free goodie bags from Santa Claus.
100.3 FM “The Point”, the official radio station of the NMU Wildcats, broadcasts all hockey games.
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