MARQUETTE , Mich. â?? The Northern Michigan University hockey team begins preseason action with a pair of exhibition games against the US National Under-18 team on Saturday (Oct. 5) and Laurentian University on Sunday (Oct. 6). The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday and 2:07 p.m. on Sunday.
The Wildcats are hosting a Skate with the 'Cats after Sunday's game. Bring your skates and hang out with your favorite Wildcats and meet this year's newcomers.
The US National Under-18 team is based out of Ann Arbor, Mich. and plays its home games at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. In the 14 years that the National Team Development Program players have been eligible for the National Hockey League Draft, 211 players have been selected. In 2011-12, more than 60 players suited up for an NHL club. The team's schedule includes games against NCAA Division I and III opponents, contests vs. USHL teams, as well as competition in three international tournaments.
The development team enters Saturday's game on a five-game win streak. They have outscored opponents 26-6 in those five wins. Last weekend the team defeated the Chicago Steel 8-0. The opening weekend (Sept. 13-14) included wins over the Steel (2-0) and the Youngstown Phantoms (3-1). The team defeated the Phantoms (9-3) again on Sept. 20 and the Indiana Ice (4-2) on Sept. 21.
Ryan Hitchock leads the team in points (10) with three goals and seven assists. Dylan Larkin (4-3), Sonny Milano (3-4) and Anders Bjork (2-5) all have seven points.
Laurentian University is in Sudbury, Ontario. It played the first exhibition game on Sept. 22 against Nipissing. Laurentian won 7-3. The team plays at Michigan Tech on Saturday before making the trip to Marquette. Laurentian also plays at Lake Superior State on Oct. 29.
NMU leads the all-time series 7-0 against Laurentian. The two teams last met in 1999 in the first game at the Berry Events Center. The Wildcats won 20-2 in the exhibition game.
In 2012-13, Northern finished with a 15-19-4 overall record and a 9-15-4-1 mark in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The 32 conference points placed the 'Cats in 10th place overall in the standings. Nineteen letter winners return for the 'Cats with 12 forwards, six defenseman and one goaltender returning.
NMU opens the season with Wisconsin for the third year in a row on Oct. 11-12. After the trip to Madison, the 'Cats play the regular season home opener on Oct. 18-19 against Nebraska Omaha. October wraps up with a home and away series with Michigan Tech on Oct. 25-26.
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. Dave Danis will bring you the play-by-play all season.
Adult season tickets are $234 for all games or $135 for Friday or Saturday only games. Adult single game tickets are $16 for reserved or Section 9 general admission. Group tickets of 20 or more are available for $10.
All home and WCHA games are available for viewing online through America One. An All-Access pass to all home NMU sporting events, including basketball, football, hockey and volleyball, is $125. A WCHA Hockey Pass is $125 and includes all 140 WCHA games. NMU hockey games will be produced in high definition.