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NMU Hockey Series Snapshot: Ohio State visits the Berry ... AND HOT DOGS ARE ONLY A FREAKING DOLLAR!?!

January 18, 2013 - Matt Wellens

MARQUETTE — Believe it or not, there is actually college hockey going on right now.

That may be tough to grasp with all the talk about the future of college hockey this week as the University of Alabama-Huntsville successfully pitched its way into the WCHA starting with the 2013-14 season.

The Chargers aren’t even playing this week, but have been the talk of college hockey. After pleading with the WCHA to save their program Thursday morning, the league unanimously approved their membership on Thursday afternoon.

So with that out of the way, lets talk Ohio State Buckeyes at Northern Michigan Wildcats, where the big storyline tonight is $1 HOTDOGS! Eat those delicious dogs early and eat ‘em often as supplies last you poor, poor college kids.

The actual heavyweight battle this weekend is not between your angry stomach and the dozen dollar dogs you tried to stuff down before the school children got done singing the National Anthem. It’s between Ohio State senior goaltender Brady Hjelle and Northern Michigan junior goaltender Jared Coreau.

Hjelle leads the CCHA in both save percentage and goals against average. Nationally, his 1.44 GAA is the best while his .952 save percentage is second to Niagara’s Carson Chubak.

Meanwhile, Coreau has put together a solid four game stretch since coming back from Christmas break. He stopped 43 shots in NMU’s win last Friday over Miami to improve his save percentage to .921, though his goals against average is 2.59.

What hindered Coreau’s efforts at the close of 2012 was a lack of goal production. In its final five games of 2012, NMU only scored five goals. In the first four games of 2013, the Wildcats have posted 13.

The increase in offense — but by no means an explosion — has been a result of the Wildcats finally finding a top line that is healthy and clicks. Sophomore Reed Seckel, junior Erik Higby and senior Matt Thurber have combined for four goals and 12 assists in the three wins and a tie since Jan. 1.

Game notes for the Buckeys can be found here.

NMU game notes are here.

On Thursday, I talked NMU hockey with Casey Ford and Bill Blohm on The Sports Pen and those segments, plus a short interview with NMU head coach Walt Kyle, will eventually show up on ESPN 970 AM’s website I’ve been told.

I’ll be joining the show for a second day this afternoon sometime after 4 p.m. You can listen to the show live online here.

If you can’t be at the Berry, NMU offers a live video stream that costs $7 per game.

The Point 100.3 FM offers a free audio stream on its website as well with Dave Danis on the call.

Give me a follow on Twitter for updates and analysis before, during and after the games this weekend. Should I land in Twitter jail due to too much tweeting, switch over to my Facebook page for updates.

Also make sure to bring bring canned cat food, made in the USA rawhide bones, cash donations, stuffed toys, chew toys, paper towels and Kong toys to Saturday’s game for the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter (UPAWS), which will be collecting the items at each of the BEC entrances.

Help support shelter pets, like this cute hockey-loving puppy, who I adopted in 2009 from a shelter in Manitowoc, Wis.



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