Season Recap: Final CCHA Season in Books for Wildcats

Season Recap: Final CCHA Season in Books for Wildcats

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team wrapped up the 38th season of Wildcat hockey in 2012-13. The season marked the end of an era as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association played its final season after 42 years. NMU will rejoin the Western Collegiate Hockey Association next season after being a member of the conference from 1984-97.

Northern finished with a 15-19-4 overall record and a 9-15-4-1 mark in the CCHA. The 32 conference points placed the 'Cats in 10th place overall in the standings.

The season opened with a 2-0 win over Brock University (Oct. 7) in an exhibition game from the Berry Events Center. The 'Cats hosted Wisconsin (Oct. 12-13) at the Resch Center in Green Bay and swept the Badgers in the regular season opening series. A road trip to Nebraska Omaha (Oct. 19-20) resulted in a non-conference split and October ended with a pair of losses to Notre Dame (Oct. 26-27) in the first CCHA and home series.

Michigan visited Marquette the first weekend of November. The two teams tied on Friday with U-M earning the extra CCHA point in the shootout and NMU won 4-3 on Saturday. A four-game road trip to Ohio followed with a loss and tie at Miami (Nov. 9-10) and a pair of losses at Ohio State (Nov. 16-17).

The first meeting with Alaska was Nov. 26-27 at the Berry Events Center. A win followed by a tie and shootout win wrapped up the conference home schedule in 2012. Western Michigan won the last game of the month on Nov. 30.

December opened with the second game in the CCHA series at Western, a 1-0 loss. Michigan Tech visited Marquette for a non-conference home game on Tuesday, Dec. 4, with the 'Cats winning 2-1. The first half of the season wrapped up with a pair of losses at Lake Superior State (Dec. 14-15).

2013 started with a six-game unbeaten streak. The 'Cats swept St. Cloud State in Minnesota on Jan. 4-5. Friday night's win was head coach Walt Kyle's 200th career victory.

Miami (Jan. 11-12) and Ohio State (Jan. 18-19) visited Marquette. NMU defeated Miami Friday coupled with a tie and shootout loss on Saturday. The 'Cats swept the Buckeyes in the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The month and unbeaten streak snapped with a pair of losses in Alaska (Jan. 25-26).

NMU split the three CCHA series in February vs. Ferris State (Feb. 8-9), at Michigan State (Feb. 15-16) and at Bowling Green (Feb. 22-23). The non-conference schedule ended with loss at MTU on Feb. 12.

LSSU came to Marquette to wrap up the season with the 'Cats recording another series split on March 1-2.

Northern traveled to Ann Arbor for the first round of the CCHA Tournament. The No. 10 seed Wildcats fell in the first two games to the seventh-seeded Wolverines on March 8-9 to close out the 2012-13 season.

Senior forward Matt Thurber led the team with 32 points on six goals and 26 assists. His 26 assists led the CCHA. Sophomore forward Reed Seckel (25), junior forward Erik Higby (21) and junior forward Stephan Vigier (21) also had over 20 points. Seckel led the team with 13 goals. Sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty had 10 goals.

Vigier had four power-play goals, senior defenseman Scott Macaulay had two shorthanded goals and Seckel, Higby, Daugherty and freshman forward Darren Nowick had two game-winning goals.

Junior goaltender Jared Coreau started all 38 games. He had a 2.70 goals against average and 91.9 save percentage. Freshman Michael Doan appeared in five games with a 2.91 goals against average and 92.6 save percentage.

NMU was honored eight times for CCHA Players of the Week. Freshman forward Cohen Adair was twice named CCHA Rookie of the Week after the series against Wisconsin and the home series vs. Michigan. Macaulay was the CCHA Defenseman of the Week after scoring the game-winner vs. Alaska and adding two assists. After the sweep at St. Cloud, Seckel, senior Kyle Follmer and Coreau were honored. Junior CJ Ludwig was the CCHA Defenseman of the Week after the sweep of OSU at home. Coreau was the CCHA Goaltender of the Week after stopping 82 shots in the final series of the season.

Thurber was named the CCHA Player of the Month for January. He led the Wildcats to a 5-2-1 record by notching two goals and adding nine assists, leading the league with 11 points for the month. Thurber notched points in 7-of-8 games while scoring a power-play goal and recording a +6 rating. Thurber had three multiple-point games in the month.

Kyle finished his 11th season on the bench for the Wildcats. His all-time record is 208-186-49. He has led NMU to six 20-win seasons and to the NCAA Tournament in 2009-10. The 'Cats went to the CCHA Tournament at Joe Louis Arena seven times under Kyle.

Seniors Kyle Follmer, Kory Kaunisto, Scott Macaulay, Brian Nugent and Matt Thurber wrapped up their careers in the Green and Gold.

With the loss of five seniors, Northern returns a lot of experienced players for next year and hopes will be high for the return to the WCHA.

Photos: Hockey Season Recap

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