MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team makes its longest trip of the season this week with its second Central Collegiate Hockey Association series of the season with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks. The puck drops at 11:05 p.m. (EST) on Friday and Saturday night (Jan. 25-26) from the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.
NMU is 11-10-4 overall and 5-9-4-1 in the CCHA. The Wildcats currently sit in 8th place in the CCHA with 20 points. Northern received votes in the USCHO.com top 20 and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top 15 polls. The Green and Gold are unbeaten in 2013 with a 5-0-1 record in the New Year.
Senior forward Matt Thurber (2-19) leads NMU with 21 points. His 19 assists lead the CCHA. Sophomore forward Reed Seckel (9-8=17) and junior forward Stephen Vigier (4-10=14) also have over 14 points. Seckel (8) leads the team in goals followed by sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty (8). Junior goaltender Jared Coreau is 11-10-4 on the season with a 2.54 goals against average and a 92.2 save percentage.
UAF is 10-8-4 overall and is fifth in the CCHA at 8-7-3-1 and 28 conference points. Jarret Granberg (5-12-17) and Trevor Campbell (1-14-15) lead the offense while John Keeney (2.43, 91.1) is 6-4-3 between the pipes. The Nanooks are on a four-game winning streak after sweeps at Michigan and Notre Dame in the last two weekends.
In the first series on Nov. 23-24, NMU earned its second CCHA win on Friday with a 4-3 overtime win. The two teams skated to a 2-2 tie on Saturday with NMU winning its first shootout of the season on its third try. Senior captain Scott Macaulay scored the game-winner on Friday 52 seconds into the overtime. Coreau had a 2.38 goals against average and a 91.9 save percentage in the series. Junior forward Jake Johnson (1G-1A), junior defenseman CJ Ludwig (2A), Macaulay (1G-1A) and Seckel (1G-1A) all had multiple point games in the first series between the two teams.
NMU is unbeaten in the last 16 meetings with UAF and leads the all-time series 28-6-12 and 12-4-5 in Fairbanks. The last time NMU lost to Alaska was Nov. 30, 2007 in Fairbanks.
NMU picked up its first CCHA sweep of the season with a pair of victories over Ohio State from the Berry Events Center. The ‘Cats won 4-2 and 3-2. NMU finished 2-2 against the Buckeyes this season.Thurber had a goal and an assist on Friday and added another assist on Saturday. Freshman forward Cohen Adair had two assists on Friday. Coreau picked up his first CCHA sweep of the season with a pair of victories over Ohio State. He had 25 saves on Friday and 30 on Saturday.
Ludwig is the CCHA Gladiator Defenseman of the Week. He assisted on the game-winning goal in a 4-2 win over Ohio State on Friday and scored the game winner in a 2-1 victory on Saturday to complete a sweep of the Buckeyes. Ludwig also had three blocks and finished +2 on the weekend.
Junior forward Erik Higby (2G-1A) and Thurber (1G-4A) are on three-game point streaks. Ludwig (1G-1A) and sophomore defenseman Mitch Jones (3A) are on two-game point streaks.
Head coach Walt Kyle earned his 200th victory in the Jan. 4 win at St. Cloud. Kyle is in his 11th season on the bench for the Wildcats. His all-time record is 204-177-49. He has led NMU to six 20-win seasons and to the NCAA Tournament in 2009-10. The ‘Cats have been to the CCHA Tournament at Joe Louis Arena seven times under Kyle. 2011-12 was the shortest season under Coach Kyle with 37 games.
Thurber has seven multiple points games. Five of Seckel’s nine goals have been scored in the third period. NMU is 3-8-1 on the road and 0-7-1 in CCHA play. NMU is 5-0-1 when scoring more than three goals. NMU is 6-0-2 when leading after two periods.
100.3 FM “The Point”, the official radio station of the NMU Wildcats, broadcasts all hockey games. Wildcat hockey can also be heard on Eagle 107.3 in Escanaba and Eagle 96.7 in Newberry.
# # # NMU # # #