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NMU Hockey Series Snapshot: DO NOT TOUCH THE FISH! Wildcats travel to Omaha
October 19, 2012 - Matt Wellens
MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University hockey team hits the road for a second time this season in as many weekends, but the first as the actual road team, playing at Nebraska-Omaha on Friday at Saturday. Friday’s puck drop is at 8:35 p.m. and Saturday’s is at 8 p.m.
The Mavericks and Wildcats at one time had a budding rivalry during their days as CCHA rivals, but UNO left for the WCHA following the 2009-10 season. The Mavs make another conference move after this season, becoming a charter member of the NCHC.
These two teams haven’t met since the Mavs left the CCHA with the Wildcats falling 7-2 and 5-3 on Jan. 22-23 in Omaha. The all-time series is tied at 15-15-4, though the Mavs are 11-4-0 all time against NMU in Omaha.
An overly detailed timeline of the rivalry was posted by SecretAgentMav on the MacPuck.com forums. I can only verify the on-ice portions of this anonymous scribe. The off-ice antics I’m sure could be debated depending on whether you are part of the UNO Red Army or NMU Puckheads.
On of the more memorable moments in this rivalry, as mentioned in the post, involves former NMU forward Pat “I will eat your babies” Bateman and a dead fish during a Nov. 15, 2003 meeting in Omaha. In celebration of the Mavs’ first goal of the night, a large, dead, fish was thrown onto the ice. As Bateman skated past the fish, he gave it a good whack with his stick, setting off a skirmish.
Here’s the YouTube video:
The Wildcats enter the series coming off a sweep of Wisconsin in Green Bay.
NMU senior forward Matt Thurber was the sympathetic favorite of the weekend, scoring a goal and two assists against his former team, the Wisconsin Badgers, in his home state — he grew up in Beaver Dam, which is almost 95 miles south of Green Bay and around 40 miles north of Madison.
NMU freshman forward Cohen Adair may have been the first star, however, after scoring the game-winning goal on Friday and tying the game at 1-1 in the second period on Saturday. Adair earned himself CCHA Rookie of the Week honors for the performances.
ESPN 970 AM’s Casey Ford spoke with NMU head coach Walt Kyle about the sweep of Wisconsin earlier in the week, as well as the series ahead against UNO.
Meanwhile, I had a good chat with College Hockey Inc.’s Nate Ewell for his College Hockey Today podcast. We talked Thurber, Adair, the Resch Center and what lies ahead for NMU.
You can also listen to the Oct. 17, 2012 edition of College Hockey Today on iTunes.
The Mavericks are coming off a 1-1 weekend in Kansas City in the Icebreaker tournament. UNO defeated Army 5-1 on Friday and fell 3-2 to Notre Dame on Saturday. Matthew Semisch of Radio Free Omaha detailed the five things Mavericks’ followers learned from the Icebreaker.
I learned that UNO has a “Sesame Street” line. [INSERT MITT ROMNEY JOKE HERE]
Semisch also previews the series here.
Over at the Omaha World Herald’s Mavericks’ today blog, Rob White profiled one member of the “Sesame Street” line, junior Brock Montpetit, who had three assists in the Icebreaker.
In White’s series preview, he highlights the Wildcats surprise jump into the national rankings.
Also from Mavericks Today is a not-so-hockey specific column by Tom Shatel on the transition UNO is going through. The Mavericks inducted six people into its hall of fame Thursday, including a former football coach, running back and wrestler. Both the wrestling and football programs were eliminated over a year and a half ago ... awkward.
Live video is available for this series, but it’s $8 a night, which is a dollar more than what NMU charges. Both are a ripoff when I can get an MLB Postseason.TV pass for $4.99.
I will not be in Omaha this weekend. Don’t expect me on a ton of road trips, if any more, because of my sports editor duties and other financial reasons. I will be available on Twitter still most Friday and Saturday nights for informal NMU hockey chats when the team is on the road. Use the hashtag #nmuhky and I’ll try and get to your questions.
Finally, I leave you with a link to a cute video of my dog, Roxie, catching a “Puppy Puck.”
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Maverick fans like to throw fish on the ice after their first goal. What they don't like is you touching their fish. Just ask Pat Bateman.