MARQUETTE - At 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 173 pounds, Northern Michigan University sophomore forward Reed Seckel doesn't appear to pack a whole lot of punch when it comes to laying the lumber on opposing players.
But as fans of his junior team - the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL - will tell you, the Melvin, Mich., native can hit.
On Friday night, however, it was Seckel taking a beating on the ice at the hands of Michigan defenseman Jacob Trouba.
Northern Michigan University sophomore forward Reed Seckel (9) awaits a faceoff on Saturday against Michigan at the Berry Events Center, less than 24 hours after being knocked out of Friday’s 4-4 shootout loss via a hit to the head by Wolverines freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba. (Journal photos by Zach Jay)
"I've taken a lot of big hits, but I think that was the biggest hit of my life so far," Seckel said.
"It took me awhile to think about everything. Once the game was over and I could take a couple breathes, everything came back to me and I could remember what exactly happened."
The Wolverines' 6-foot-2, 195-pound freshman laid out Seckel just before the Michigan blue line, popping the Wildcat in the head with his shoulder.
The result was Seckel being attended to by trainers and doctors on the ice before leaving for the locker room while Trouba was tossed from the game and suspended for Saturday's series finale.
As for pivotal goals in a 4-3 CCHA victory for the Wildcats over the Wolverines in front of a sellout crowd of 4,260.
After watching Michigan score three unanswered goals to force overtime and a shootout on Friday, Seckel scored 4:04 into Saturday's game to give NMU a 1-0 lead.
Seckel added what would stand as the game-winner 16:54 into the third period.
"I don't like sitting here at home and watching, especially against Michigan," Seckel said. "I was just excited to be out there playing."
Seckel first returned to the Wildcats' bench during the overtime period on Friday night after Michigan's A.J. Treais tied the game at 4-4 with 00.6 showing on the BEC clock.
The NMU assistant captain offered to serve the Wildcats' penalty for too-many men on the ice in OT and tried to get in on the shootout that NMU lost 1-0, but NMU head coach Walt Kyle said there was no way he was going to open the door even the slightest for Seckel to sneak back out onto the ice.
"That was an incredible hit," Kyle said. "Doc told me (Friday) night that he thought (Seckel) was OK right after the injury. We wanted to give him a little bit of time right after the injury to re-evaluate it.
"(Seckel) was adamant he wanted to play. I told him (Saturday) he was adamant if he had his throat slit."
Seckel said he sat up all night after Friday's game, waiting for the headaches to set.
"I had to come here (Saturday) morning and convince the coaches and the doctors that would listen that I'm OK," said Seckel, who has four goals and two assists in seven games. "They were pretty hesitant. I had to kind of get on them and they put me through some tests."
ADAIR NAMED CCHA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
NMU freshman forward Cohen Adair took over the team high of five goals by scoring both nights against Michigan over the weekend, contributing a goal and an assist on Friday and a goal Saturday to be named the CCHA Rookie of the Week for a second time this season.
Adair has scored in each of the Wildcats' last three games after scoring in both contests against Wisconsin in Green Bay - the first time he earned the honor.
Among CCHA players, Adair is tied for second behind Treais in goals scored and he leads all CCHA freshman in goals scored.
Senior Matt Thurber leads the Wildcats and the CCHA in scoring with a goal and 10 assists for 11 points while Seckel, Adair and junior forward Stephan Vigier sit second on the team with six points each.
Thurber's 10 assists also leads the CCHA and all of NCAA Division I college hockey.
WILDCATS JUMP TO NO. 16 IN USCHO POLL
The Wildcats returned to No. 16 in this week's USCHO.com poll after losing a shootout and defeating Michigan outright over the weekend in CCHA play.
The NCAA doesn't recognize shootouts, leaving the Wildcats' official record at 4-3-1 on the season.
NMU was ranked No. 16 in the Oct. 22 USCHO poll, but fell to No. 20 last week after being swept by Notre Dame.
The Irish (6-2-0) sit at No. 7 this week while Michigan (3-3-1) fell from No. 8 to No. 12.
NMU's opponent this week, Miami (5-2-1), sits at No. 5 while Boston College (6-1-0) is No. 1.
NMU is unranked in this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine's Top 15 poll, but did receive 15 points in voting, good for 17th.
Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252.