MARQUETTE, Mich. – The No. 17-ranked Northern Michigan hockey team hosts Bowling Green State for the second year in a row in the first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament in a best-of-three series from the Berry Events Center. Games are at 7:35 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if necessary). Last season, the Falcons advanced to the CCHA Quarterfinal after winning the second two games in the series.
NMU ended the regular season 16-12-6 overall and 11-11-6-3 for 42 points in the CCHA. The Wildcats finished sixth in the conference behind Ferris State, Michigan, Western Michigan, Miami and Michigan State. NMU is ranked No. 17 in the latest USCHO.com top 20 poll and are tied for 11th in the PairWise Rankings heading into the postseason.
Bowling Green State finished the regular season 10-21-5 overall and last in the CCHA with a record of 5-19-4-3. The Falcons split with Michigan in the final series of the season in Ohio. Ryan Carpenter (8-13-21) leads the team in scoring. Camden Wojtala (8-11-19) is two points back and goaltender Andrew Hammond (2.66 goals against average, 89.9 save percentage) is 10-20-5 between the pipes.
Junior defenseman Scott Macaulay is the CCHA Gladiator Defenseman of the Week. Last weekend, Macaulay had five assists, including a career-high four assists on Saturday. He also had two blocks on Friday and the ‘Cats were a perfect 10-for-10 on the penalty kill.
NMU swept BGSU in the regular season series in Ohio. The ‘Cats defeated BGSU 4-2 on Friday (Feb. 10). NMU jumped out to a 3-0 lead after goals by sophomore forward Stephan Vigier, senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan and Macaulay. Senior forward Justin Florek also scored in the third period after having two assists earlier in the game. Sophomore goaltender Jared Coreau had 32 saves. The Wildcats picked up their first shutout of the season with a 2-0 victory on Saturday (Feb. 11). Coreau had his first career shutout with 31 saves. Freshman defenseman Mitch Jones scored a power-play goal in the second period and Cherniwchan added an empty-net goal at the end.
BGSU took the second two games in the best-of-three series from the Berry Events Center last season to advance in the tournament. On Friday, NMU scored four straight goals after BGSU took an early 1-0 lead and won 6-3. BGSU scored and even strength goal in the middle of the second period and added an empty-net goal for the 2-0 victory on Saturday. The Falcons won 2-1 in double overtime on Sunday.
Bowling Green holds a one-game lead in the all-time series 37-36-8, dating back to 1976. NMU leads the series in Marquette 22-15-5 and have won 4-of-6.
Northern swept Lake Superior State from the Berry Events Center in the final series of the regular season last weekend. The ‘Cats won the Cappo Cup in the total goal season series with a 16-12 edge. Junior forward Matt Thurber had two goals and three assists on the weekend. Redshirt freshman forward Reed Seckel had a goal and three assists. Goaltenders Coreau and Reid Ellingson each picked up a win. NMU honored its five seniors on Saturday. Cherniwchan, Ellingson, Florek and Tyler Gron started the game while goaltender Devan Hartigan came in relief of Ellingson in the final seconds of the game for his first appearance in the regular season since the 2008-09 season.
NMU is second in the CCHA in power-play with a 19.5 percent (24-of-123) success rate. The Wildcats were a perfect 10-for-10 on the penalty kill last weekend. NMU is third in the CCHA in penalty kill with an 85.3 percent (133-of-156) success rate.
Northern has lost only twice at the Berry Events Center this season in 17 games and are 10-2-5. The ‘Cats are outscoring opponents 60-39 at home and Gron has 13 goals and 13 assists on home ice. Florek has eight goals and 11 assists. Coreau is 6-1-1 at home with a 1.86 goals against average and a 93.4 save percentage.
Tickets are $16 for general admission, $5 for students and $5 for fans 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased at: http://webb.nmu.edu/Tickets// at any NMU ticket outlet or by calling 906-227-1032.
100.3 FM “The Point”, the official radio station of the NMU Wildcats, will broadcast all three games. An online stream is available at: http://wnmufm.org/sportsstream
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