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NMU Hockey Series Snapshot: The words "Bowling Green State" has to sting the Wildcats, right?
February 22, 2013 - Matt Wellens
MARQUETTE — Bowling Green State.
Whether the Northern Michigan University hockey team wants to admit it or not, those three words have to sting.
The words “Bowling Green State” have to stir up some kind of emotion, some sort of anger.
Why “Bowling Green State,” you ask?
And then this.
The Wildcats and Falcons have met 12 times over the previous two seasons and while the ’Cats hold a 6-5-1 advantage in those 12 games, the Falcons have the four wins that matter most.
Four of the five wins by BGSU have come in CCHA first-round playoff series with the first two stunning an NMU team that was coming off an NCAA tournament run. The second pair of wins spoiled the Wildcats’ very realistic shot at going back to college hockey’s big ice dance for the second time in three years.
NMU sophomore Reed Seckel insisted Wednesday at Lakeview Arena prior to the team’s departure for Bowling Green that the past is in the past, saying “They did what they did the last two years. That’s over with. Let’s go play some hockey.”
I like Reed. He’s a good kid and all. I watched him play originally for the Green Bay Gamblers when I was back in Wisconsin, but I find his statement hard to believe this week after his postgame interview a year ago following the Game 3 defeat.
Reed’s comments after the loss were real, they were refreshing, they were honest. I believe those feelings still sit deep down in the young Wildcat’s soul, but wouldn’t be surprised if they stayed buried this weekend.
See, last season the Wildcats got “revenge” for their 2010-11 playoff loss by sweeping the Falcons at the BGSU Ice Arena, only to lose in the playoffs again. If the Wildcats really want “revenge” for the previous two seasons, they’ll need to exercise some demons and defeat BGSU in the playoffs.
And wouldn’t you know, if the season ended today, not only would the Wildcats get another postseason crack at BGSU, but as John Wagner writes on his blog for the Toledo Blade, the ’Cats would have a chance to upset the Falcons in Bowling Green.
Now that would be some vengeance.
Also from the Blade this morning, Wagner writes about the Falcons’ free agent acquisition from Latvia, Ralfs Freibergs.
Freibergs isn’t really a free agent signing for BGSU. The incoming freshman was suspended for 33 games by the NCAA for playing with the Latvian national team in a pro league in 2009 and 2010. He is eligible to play Saturday and BGSU head coach Chris Bergeron plans to play him. It’s an odd choice, in my opinion, to activate a kid for maybe only five games, but BGSU is going to do it.
One Falcon who will definitely not be playing Friday and is questionable for Saturday is goaltender Andrew Hammond, who according to Kevin Gordon of the Sentinel-Tribune is still nursing a knee injury. Hammond was in net for both playoff series victories at Northern, but has missed the previous five games this season leading up to the weekend.
Game notes for Northern Michigan can be found here.
Game notes for Bowling Green can be found here.
BGSU offers live video for $8 per game via AmericaOne.
You can also tune into The Point 100.3 FM, which also offers a free audio stream on its website.
As for Twitter coverage, give John Wagner of the Toledo Blade a follow, as well as Kevin Gordon of the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, who is also hooking up The Mining Journal with some photos this weekend.
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The Bowling Green State University hockey team celebrates a goal in its Game 3, series-clinching victory over Northern Michigan at the Berry Events Center in the first round of the CCHA playoffs. (Journal file photo by Matt Keiser)