MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University hockey Wildcats held their intrasquad scrimmage Saturday and they appeared to be happy just to be back on the ice.
The Green team defeated the Gold, 3-1, with Dominik Shine, John Siemer and Robbie Payne picking up goals during the contest.
However, the Wildcats weren’t focusing on the scoreboard. They just wanted to get a feel for each other and get some experience before their season-opening series next weekend against Wisconsin.
“We got what we wanted out of this tonight,” NMU head coach Walt Kyle said. “We wanted to get into some game-like conditions as well as giving a lot of guys some playing time.
“Some of the guys surprised me. Robbie and some of our other freshmen had good nights. I also saw over the course of the night that some of our lines really started to gel.
:I think we’re getting to where we need to be,”he added.
NMU senior captain Ryan Kesti also liked what he saw. He’s hoping his squad can take the next step this year and finish near the top of the WCHA.
“Tonight was good for us,” he said. “It gave us a chance to develop some plays and get some experience.
“I thought we did OK last year, but I think we have the talent to perform better. There are still some minor things that we need to fix, but we’re ready to get things going next weekend.”
One of the NMU scoring threats this year will be right wing Siemer. Her missed some of the 2013-14 season due to an injury, but was still able to rack up 18 points for the Wildcats.
Siemer said he’s feeling good and is set to build on last year’s point total.
“My injury hasn’t affected me at all,” Siemer said. “I’m 100 percent healthy and I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to getting better and the other guys are eager for the season to start.”
Starting goalie Mathias Dahlstrom said he’s ready to be the stable netminder the Wildcats need. Now that he has a season under his belt, Dahlstrom thinks he’s prepared for whatever gets thrown at him.
“I feel I’m getting better and better each time on the ice,” he said. “I was just trying to get used to playing at the college level last year, but I feel like things are going to go differently this year.
“I’ve been watching a lot of game tape and I know what I need to do come through for us,” he added.
NMU was picked to finish sixth/seventh in the WCHA, but the Wildcats aren’t concerned about that. They just want to show what they can do and try to make this season a better one.
“I don’t really buy into those kinds of things,” Dahlstrom said. “If that’s where people decide to put us, that’s their opinion. I know we’re better than where we got picked to finish and we’re looking forward to showing that.”
Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.