2011-12 Season Preview: Northern Michigan
A look back:
The ‘Cats were picked 7th by media, 6th by coaches in 2010-11 and finished 6th. However, in their 1st round playoff series at home against Bowling Green – who had only won 8 games prior to that series – they were taken down 2-0 in game 2 and 2-1 in a 2OT thriller in game 3, ending NMU’s season early.
Where they stand:
NMU’s Top 3 scorers return as seniors, and one of them, Tyler Gron, was just named to the Preseason All-CCHA 2nd-team. Gron was not named as one of the captains of the team by head coach Walt Kyle (NMU class of 1981), however and those honors go to seniors Justin Florek, Andrew Cherniwchan, and junior Scott Macaulay. Kyle has a rather surprising record of 176-153-39 in his 10 seasons in Marquette, and will likely ride Reid Ellingson as the ‘Cats primary goaltender this year.
A look ahead:
The Wildcats start the season without an exhibition, but with 2 games in the Kohl Center vs. the Wisconsin Badgers. Although the Badgers won’t be there, this will be a small taste of the WCHA, and they’ll get a full dose starting in the newly reconfigured WCHA starting in the 2013-2014 season. A strong start could get this young team (16 underclassmen) on the right track.
Predicted Finish: This year looks to be more of the same from the Wildcats. In the CCHA preseason polls released 9/28, the coaches tabbed NMU at 6th and the Media in a tie for 7th.