MARQUETTE, Mich.—No. 20 Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (18-11-3, 16-6-2-2 WCHA) returns to the Berry Events Center after a four-game road trip to Alaska and Alabama. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks (11-15-2, 9-12-1-1 WCHA) comes to Marquette, Michigan for a pair of contests on Friday and Saturday with a 7 p.m. puck drop both nights.
Coverage of the contest can be found at nmuwildcats.com, while there will also be in-game updates on Twitter at @NMU_Wildcats.
It will be Youth Sports Day in the Berry on Saturday. Children wearing a local youth sports jersey to the game will receive free admission with the purchase of an adult ticket. The Landmark Inn will host a fourth period event after Saturday's game. Fans are encouraged to attend the event at the Landmark after the conclusion of Saturday evenings contest.
For complete game notes, click HERE.
Weekend Recap. In their final true road series of the season, the Wildcats traveled to the University of Alabama-Huntsville for a Saturday and Sunday afternoon series. After a Michigan Technological University loss on Friday, a 4-3 victory by NMU Saturday afternoon sealed home-ice for the Wildcats in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs. UAH bounced back to get a 4-2 victory on Sunday to split the series and the season series.
Second Half Standouts. Since the start of 2018, junior forwards Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, California) and Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) have shot up the national rankings. In 10 games, Loggins has nine goals and six assists, including the WCHA Offensive Player of the Month Award for January. Rockwood has three goals and 11 assists. He is currently on his second nine-game scoring streak of the season. Rockwood leads the NCAA with 27 assists this season, while both skaters are tied for 10th nationally with 34 points.
Home, Sweet Home. The Wildcats clinched home-ice over the weekend in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs for the first time since 2012. NMU owns a 10-2 overall mark in the Berry Events Center, including wins in their past six home contests. The team will play three more regular season contests and at least two playoff games in the Berry.
Between the Pipes. Junior goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) owns the fourth most wins in the NCAA this season with a record of 16-6-1 despite missing six games due to injury. The .717 win percentage is seventh-best in the nation. Since the start of the new year, Tolvanen has appeared in all 10 contests, earning a 7-1-1 record.
Record Book Watch. A number of Wildcats are making their mark on the NMU record book. Senior forward Robbie Payne (Gaylord, Michigan) needs just two goals to become the 35th NMU skater to score 50 in his career. Atte Tolvanen needs two wins to move into the top-10 for goalie wins in a season. Sophomore defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota) will be entering the record book soon in multiple categories, including career goals, assists, and points by a defenseman.
WCHA Standings. Despite being picked to finish seventh in both preseason polls, NMU is leading the WCHA with three weekends action remaining. Their 52 points are one more than preseason favorite No. 5 Minnesota State University, while Bowling Green State University is third with 49 points. The Wildcats have clinched home-ice for the opening round of the WCHA Playoffs, ensuring a top-four finish in the league.
Potulny in his First Season. Grant Potulny is in his first season at the helm of the Wildcats. Potulny owns an 18-11-3 mark overall and 16-6-2-2 record in WCHA play at NMU. As an eight-year assistant coach at his alma mater, Minnesota, Potulny helped the Gophers to a 182-105-26 (.623) record and two Frozen Four appearances.
NMU versus Fairbanks. The Wildcats lead the all-time series with the Nanooks, 36-14-12. NMU is 20-3-7 all-time when taking on UAF on their home-ice. The two programs split a series in Fairbanks in November when the Wildcats earned a 5-3 win on Friday and the Nanooks getting a 4-1 win on Saturday.