Northern Michigan Wildcat Wrap: Men's Hockey Sweep, Basketball Opens Season

Joe DexterContributor INovember 23, 2009

It’s good to be home, it’s good to be home!

The Northern Michigan Wildcats men’s hockey team returned home to take on Nebraska-Omaha. The hockey team is playing gaining well and gaining ground in the CCHA heading into the holidays.

The season got underway on the road for the women’s basketball team in a successful showing against Lakeland College.

The men's team traveled to Green Bay to take on the Division I Phoenix. The Wildcats came close to upsetting the team from the Horizon League, but fell short in the end.

The women’s volleyball season is over as well. The Wildcats made it to Indianapolis as NMU competed in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. They faced a tough yet familiar opponent in Hillsdale.

We’ve got the details coming up on that matchup. It’s the Wildcat Wrap, recapping Wildcats action in every sport this week.

Let’s get started with women’s basketball.

The Lady Wildcats set some lofty goals this off-season and in the season opener, where they showed they were going to compete all season long.

Northland College couldn’t stop the opening offensive flurry led by Christa Erickson as the Wildcats defeated the Lumberjills 65-32. NMU opened the game with a 20-4 run, as Kelly Rietveld and Christa Erickson led the 'Cats in scoring. Erickson dropped 17 points, while Rietveld tallied 14.

Erickson was perfect from the floor, including a 5-of-5 three point shooting performance.

Northern Michigan outrebounded the Lumberjills 48-17 and now heads to Duluth to take on the Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday.

NMU then wraps up their November on the road against Wisconsin-Parkside on Nov. 28th. The Lady Wildcats open up their conference schedule at home against Northwood on Dec. 3rd.

In Men’s action, after falling to No. 15 Michigan to start the season, the Wildcats looked to battle with another division I foe on Wednesday. They pushed Wisconsin-Green Bay to the brink, before the Phoenix staged a last minute rally on their way to a narrow 70-64 win.

Marc Renelique shot well from the three, hitting 7-10 from behind the arc in leading the Wildcats with 23 points. Point Guard Raymont McElroy added sixteen points and led NMU with five assists on the day.

The Wildcats and Phoenix were even on the boards, but the Wildcats shot a higher percentage from the field than the Phoenix. Northern Michigan had 16 untimely turnovers.

The Phoenix were led by Troy Cotton and Rahmon Fletcher with 19 points apiece. The Wildcats will start a five game home stand starting Tuesday, as they take on Northland College.

In women’s volleyball action, the Northern Michigan fell in dramatic fashion during the Division II NCAA Tournament against conference-foe Hillsdale, 25-23, 25-22, 17-25, 21-25, 15-12.

The Wildcats dropped the first two sets, but fought back and were able to force a fifth and final set. Despite a strong effort, the Wildcats could not hold on with the season hanging by a thread.

The Wildcats were led in kills by Mandie Meyer (21), Emma Wolfe (14), Katt Garvick (11) and Amy Anderson-Goldsworthy (11). The Wildcats had 9 service aces in the final match. Hillsdale was lead by Ashley Crowder who had 17 kills. Hillsdale’s season came to an end in the next round, when Indianapolis defeated the Chargers 3-2.

The Wildcats finished the season at 19-12, while the Chargers end their season with a 24-8 mark.

In men’s hockey action, the Wildcats had some solid success at the Berry Event Center, winning both weekend games against Nebraska-Omaha. On Friday the Wildcats opened play with a solid 5-1 victory.

The Wildcats would open up with a one goal deficit to start the game, as John Kemp lit the lamp on the power play just 3:05 into the first period. Justin Florek would even things up with his second goal of the season in the middle of the period.

The Wildcats entered play in the second with a one-man advantage and Justin Florek added his third goal of the season on the power play to give the Wildcats a one goal lead. Mark Olver would add his seventh goal of the season late in the second and Greger Hanson added his second goal in the middle of the third to give the Wildcats an insurmountable lead.

Brian Stewart allowed one goal on 24 shots. Both teams had 12 minutes of penalties in the very aggressive series opening game.

On Saturday, the Wildcats continued their hot streak and climbed over .500 in conference play with a hard fought 6-3 win.

Brian Stewart made his second start of the weekend, stuffing 34 shots, while allowing just three goals. Nebraska-Omaha jumped out to a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission, but Tyler Gron, Greger Hanson, and Mark Olver added goals in the second for Northern Michigan.

That was enough for the win, but Olver added another goal in the third. Ray Kaunisto also scored his fifth goal in that period and Phil Fox added his first of the season.

The Wildcats moved to 4-3-1 in CCHA play and 5-5-2 on the season. Mark Olver continued his offensive dominance, tallying five total points on the weekend.

The Wildcats will head to Fairbanks, Alaska next weekend to take on the Nanooks. Game time is set for 11:30 both games this weekend.