MARQUETTE, Mich. - The Northern Michigan University Wildcat hockey program returns to the Berry Events Center this weekend, November 8-9, as they host the Huskies of St. Cloud State University.
At the latest USCHO poll release, the Wildcats jumped to 16th in the nation, tying the highest ranking received during head coach Grant Potulny's tenure. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings, Northern Michigan is receiving 48 votes and just on the doorstep of breaking into the top-15.
|AGAINST THE HUSKIES|
Northern Michigan and St. Cloud State have met 43 times in program history with the Huskies owning a 23-19-1 record all-time. The two teams last met in 2018-19 in St. Cloud, Minnesota where the Wildcats dropped both games. At home, the Wildcats own a 14-6-0 record over the Huskies including a sweep in St. Cloud's most recent trip to Marquette (Oct. 14-15, 2011) where the Wildcats posted 5-2 and 3-2 victories.
Griffin Loughran scored his first collegiate goal against the Huskies in the Wildcats' 4-1 loss Friday. Since then, Loughran has gone on to post 30 points off 15 goals and 15 assists. He heads into the weekend with a team-best 12 points (8-4-12) and has tallied at least one point in each of his last seven outings and has a goal in the last five.
|LAST TIME OUT|
The Wildcats are coming off their second consecutive sweep and are undefeated in the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference with a 4-0-0-0 record following their 5-3 and 4-2 wins over Alabama Huntsville. Both Griffin Loughran and Philip Beaulieu tallied four-point weekends while rookie forward Andre Ghantous recorded his first career goal-streak. Thirteen individuals highlighted the weekend box score, including five who posted multiple points over the two-game spread.
Loughran netted his team-leading eighth goal in Saturday night's victory when he found the empty net with 60 seconds remaining in regulation. The nation's current active points leader among defensemen, Beaulieu scored an empty netter on Friday night for his first goal of the season while also putting up three assists over the weekend for 104 total career points. Vincent de Mey opened the scoring Saturday night with his nation's-best fourth power play tally of the year.
John Hawthorne and Nolan Kent combined to stop 54 shots on net in the sweep for a .915 save percentage. Kent got the nod in goal Saturday evening where he posted his first career point, an assist on Caleb Schroer's second period goal.
The Wildcats broke into the national rankings following their sweep at Ferris State before moving up to No. 16/RV heading into their home series against St. Cloud State this weekend. The 16th-place ranking ties a team best under head coach Grant Potulny, having peaked at No. 16 during the 2017-18 season.
- With two game-winners at Ferris State, sophomore forward Griffin Loughran leads the nation in game-winning goals with three.
- Loughran also ranks among the nation's best in goals per game (fourth, 1.00) and power play goals (fourth, 3).
- Vincent de Mey's power play tally in the first period of Saturday's game gives him the nation's lead in that category and his fourth of the season.
- Philip Beaulieu tallied his eighth point of the season on Saturday for 13th overall in points per game (defensemen). His 104 total career points (21-83-104) leads all active defensemen.
- At the last line of defense, both John Hawthorne and Nolan Kent rank in the top-15 of goaltenders in the nation. Hawthorne is eighth in overall win percentage, with a 3-0-1 record for .875 average while Kent is 15th with a .750 percentage behind a 3-1-0 record. The rookie netminder Hawthorne also ranks sixth in shutouts following the 2-0 win in his first career start.
- The team has the ninth best scoring offense, averaging 3.83 goals per game and their .812 win percentage is seventh in the nation. Before they host St. Cloud State, the Wildcats boast the second-best undefeated streak in college hockey with a 6-0-1 record in their last seven games.
With eight points through the first six games of the season, sophomore forward Vincent de Mey was named Forward of the Month by the WCHA for the month of October. Through the first month of competition, he was tied for the team-lead in goals (six) and points (eight). As October came to a close, de Mey had found the back of the net in five different games while his three goals on the power play ranked second in the nation. Averaging 1.00 goals per game through the first month of competition, de Mey ranked third nationally and sat second in the league in overall point-scoring with 1.50 points per game. He led the WCHA in total goals (six) and recorded the most points on the power play of any WCHA member with three goals and an assist for four total points.
After their weekend sweep at Ferris State to open WCHA play, Griffin Loughran and Nolan Kent were named players of the week by the league. Loughran scored four goals in two games in Big Rapids, including the game-winner Friday night before netting his first-career hat trick in Saturday's win. His six goals on the season and eight total points were tied for the team lead with Vincent de Mey. Earning the first WCHA victory of his career in Saturday's 6-4 victory over Ferris State, Kent stopped a career-high 39 shots for a .907 save percentage.
Previous Wildcat honors include de Mey who was named WCHA Forward of the Week following his three-point weekend against Michigan State. He earned the honor for the second consecutive week after his three-goal weekend at Boston University.
|NEW AT HOME IN 2019-20|
New this season, a hospitality room will be available for fans to purchase tickets to ahead of time. Located in the Wildcat Room of the Berry Events Center, admission will include a pre-game dinner buffet, bar, snacks and coat check.
Single game tickets are now on sale for the NMU Hockey Hospitality Room and can only be purchased in advance of the game not on the night of the game.
- Single game tickets are $30 per ticket/person
- Season tickets are $360 per ticket/person
- Half season tickets are $200 per ticket/person (either Friday or Saturday)
Your ticket to the hospitality room includes:
- Pre-game dinner buffet (e.g., burger bar, gourmet pizza, pulled pork station, etc.) served from 5:45 - 7:07 p.m. on Fridays and 4:45 - 6:07 p.m. on Saturdays
- 2 drink tickets per game (i.e., soda, water, beer, wine, and call liquor) to be used during pre-game or intermissions
- Coat check
- Intermission snacks (e.g., pretzels, popcorn, etc.)
Tickets can be purchased through NMU ticketing (online at tickets.nmu.edu or through the various ticket outlets). The NMU Ticket Office at the Berry Events Center is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by calling 906-227-1032. Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be available the night of the game.
-Tickets are limited and will be sold on a first come, first served basis.
-Entrance to the room will be limited to ticket-bearers, alcohol sales will be limited to those over 21 with valid ID.
-Tickets are issued on a game-by-game basis (similarly to hockey tickets). The ticket bearer will then be exchange their ticket at the entrance to the Wildcat Room for drink tickets and room access for the night. This will also then allow you to have the flexibility to have different users use the tickets on different nights if you use the season ticket option (similarly to season hockey tickets).
-Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be available the night of the game.
|ON THE RETURNERS|
Seventeen members of the 2018-19 squad will lace their skates up again for the Wildcats this season. Nolan Kent looks strong in net as the last line of defense, taking over for all-time Wildcat program leader Atte Tolvanen who was named WCHA Goaltender of the Year in 2018-19. On the blueline, the Wildcats return three members of last season's team, including reigning WCHA Defenseman of the Year in senior captain Philip Beaulieu. He is joined by fellow senior Rylan Yaremko and junior Adam Roeder. Eleven Wildcats are back at the front, in two seniors, three juniors and six sophomores. The offense talent amassed 114 of the Wildcats' total 282 points last season.
The Wildcats add nine newcomers to the team in 2019-20 as well as junior defenseman, Ben Newhouse, who sat out the 2018-19 season due to transfer requirements. The team also added three goaltenders in the offseason, two of which look to split time between the pipes with sophomore netminder, Nolan Kent.
|MAKING UP POINTS|
In the off-season, Northern Michigan lost 46% of their point-scoring to graduation but the 2019-20 squad seems poised to fill those shoes. Two rising seniors made up part of the team's top-five scorers last year in Philip Beaulieu (6-29-35) and Darien Craighead (10-10-20). The veteran duo now looks to lead the young team to even more time in the offensive zone
The Wildcats were pegged to finish fourth in the WCHA this season as voted on by the league's coaches in the 2019-20 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches' Poll. The media picked Northern Michigan to finish third through the regular season, behind only unanimous favorite Minnesota State and Bowling Green.
Having served as an alternate captain in 2018-19, senior defenseman Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minn.) was named captain of the 2019-20 squad prior to the season.
|YEAR THREE UNDER COACH POTULNY|
The third head coach in NMU Hockey history enters his third season behind the bench in 2019-20. In two seasons with the team, Potulny has led the Wildcats to two 20+ win seasons and boasts a career head coaching record of 46-31-5. Last season the team went 21-16-2, which included a berth in the WCHA semifinals where they faced Bowling Green. In his first season at the helm of the Wildcats, Potulny's team recorded a 25-15-3 season, it's first 25-win season since 2001-02 and advanced to the WCHA Championship game.
|50 YEARS OF WOMEN IN SPORT|
Throughout the 2019-20 season, the Wildcats will celebrate the history of Women's Sports at Northern Michigan. Fans are encouraged to contribute with their favorite and most memorable moments and athletes of NMU women's sports. Please go to THIS LINK to contribute your favorite or most memorable moment and athletes. More information on this year's celebration can be found HERE.
Northern Michigan welcomes Alaska to town November 15-16 for their first meeting of the season. The two teams are currently tied for first in the WCHA with 12 points apiece, both looking to knock the other out of that top spot.