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NMU Hockey Postseason Series Snapshot: Wildcats happy to be at Yost for first round of CCHA playoffs
March 8, 2013 - Matt Wellens
MARQUETTE — Maybe it’s because they are seniors.
Maybe it’s because they know visits to Ann Arbor will be few and far between starting next season.
Maybe it’s because for the first time in three years, they’ll actually experience a playoff atmosphere after losing back-to-back three-game series to Bowling Green State in front of fewer than 2,000 fans each night at the Berry Events Center in Marquette while their classmates enjoyed spring break.
Whatever the reason, many on the Northern Michigan University hockey team are excited to be playing on the road against the University of Michigan at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor this weekend for the first round of the CCHA playoffs.
One of the Wildcats who was looking forward to playing in Ann Arbor this weekend was senior forward and leading scorer Matt Thurber. He’s only played at Yost once before as either a Wildcat or Badger.
He won’t get a second chance though after breaking his right leg during practice on Tuesday at Lakeview Arena. He was scheduled to have surgery today on the leg and his collegiate career is finished.
Thurber’s absence will put more pressure on NMU junior goaltender Jared Coreau, who is possibly playing his final series of collegiate hockey. Coreau is expected to turn pro after this year and forgo his senior season.
Meanwhile in the Michigan net, true freshman Steve Racine has emerged from Red Berenson’s game of musical goaltenders as the winner — for now — after leading the Wolverines to a 3-0-1 finish that earned them this home-ice series.
Racine only allowed two goals against Ferris State last weekend and stopped all three FSU attempts in the Saturday shootout to earn CCHA Rookie of the Week honors.
Since the league abandoned the Super 6 format after the 2005 season, this is only the second time Michigan has not earned a first-round bye in the CCHA playoffs. The only other season was 2010 when the Wolverines ran the table and beat NMU in the CCHA Championship game to reach the NCAA Tournament.
The Wolverines will need another run like the one made in 2010 if it hopes to extend its record-setting streak of 22 NCAA tournament appearances.
Northern Michigan game notes can be found here.
Michigan game notes are here.
Neither Fox Sports Detroit or Big Ten Network decided to pick up this playoff series, but Michigan will be offering a live video stream on its website for a fee. A $9.95 monthly pass will get you all three games of the sereis, which is a pretty decent deal if you compare it to NMU’s $7 per game.
The Point 100.3 FM offers a free audio stream on its website as well with Dave Danis on the call.
My sports editor duties at The Mining Journal and society’s lack of initiative when it comes to furthering the science of human cloning have kept me in Marquette this weekend, but the MJ does have some help in Ann Arbor.
Michigan Daily assistant sports editor Alejandro Zúñiga will be stringing for us all weekend. You can give him a follow on Twitter, for updates this weekend, or follow his colleague, the pasty-loving Matt Slovin.
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Michigan's Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor. Photo from twitter.com/nmuhockey. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BEyKKyiCAAAs9BD.jpg:large