Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wildcats Down RedHawks 4-1 on Senior Night

On a night when the NMU seniors were intended to be visible, they played the part perfectly. Six of the nine departing players picked up a point on Saturday and every one of them, including Josh Hatinger, saw ice time.

Dusty Collins scored the game-winning goal on a breakaway in the second period, while Bobby Selden, Darin Olver, Zach Tarkir, Matt Maunu and Rob Lehtinen (2) all picked up assists.

Mike Santorelli netted his 27th goal of the season mid-way through the second period and for about five minutes, he stood alone as the nation's second-leading goal scorer. That was when Miami's Ryan Jones struck, flipping the lone RedHawk goal over a sprawling Zaniboni for his 27th marker of the season.

All was settled in the final two minutes of the game, however, when Santorelli scored once more to bump his total to 28 and to solidify Saturday's score.

"He made a couple of guys look pretty foolish and he is capable of doing that," Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said of Santorelli.

The Wildcat penalty kill had phenomenal numbers over the weekend, killing all ten Miami advantages. The power-play unit went 2-11 (18%) in the series.

After Saturday's matchups, NMU's future has become much clearer. Finishing the year in tenth place in the CCHA, the Wildcats will be forced to travel to Columbus next weekend, where they will take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of the CCHA Playoffs.

Northern has won only one of four games against the Buckeyes this season, dropping both games on the road.

Post-game audio and series wraps should be posted by Monday.

2/24 NMU-MU Line Charts






Zaniboni in net






Zatkoff in net

2/23 Post game audio

Kyle Whitney and I both spoke with NMU head coach Walt Kyle and Miami head coach Enrico Blasi following the RedHawks, 4-1, win at the Berry Events Center Friday night. Justus Cleveland of WLUC TV6 can also be heard during the Walt Kyle interview.

Walt did not make any of his player available for comment after the loss. You can hear a loud bang during Walt's interview. It came from the players' locker room area.

Click on the links below to listen to the post game chats.

NMU head coach Walt Kyle

Miami head coach Enrico Blasi

Also, you can check out Matt and Kyle's post game thoughts from the Berry Events Center here.

RedHawks dominate Cats, 4-1

In my four years covering NMU hockey, Friday night was one of the uglier games I've ever seen the Wildcats play. Here are my three keys to the loss:

1) While NMU head coach Walt Kyle felt the Cats' defense was okay Friday night, minus a couple breakdowns, I felt it was horrendous. The Wildcats have always prided themselves as a defensive team and Friday they looked far from that.

Zach Tarkir had an awful night and struggled to keep up with the RedHawks, specifically Nathan Davis. Tarkir got burned along the boards a number of times while a Miami forward streaked to the net. Davis burned Tarkir bad in the second to put Miami up 2-0.

2) Bill Zaniboni did appear to be a bit off Friday but not off enough to allow bad goals. Neither of the two he allowed were his fault in my mind. In fact, three of the four goals were because of bad defense, with the fourth being an empty netter.

Ryan Jones was untouched on his wrap-around score which made me sick. How can anyone leave the nation's third leading goal scorer unattended like he was on that play. It was like everyone just sat back and watched.

3) Mike Santorelli did nothing to help his cause Friday as he continues to watch Niagara's Ted Cook run away with the goal scoring title. Cook added another tonight, Jones tied Santorelli and Ryan Duncan of North Dakota pulled within one. Santorelli was completely off tonight and you wonder if he thinking ahead to his pro career.

I can tell that he really wants to put the puck in the net, but it can not be a "I score or no one scores" situation. Santorelli neglected to pass the puck on numerous occasions, hence wasting all the time he spent getting the puck in the zone and weaving through defenders.

Miami did a great job not allowing him to get an open look at the net, except once and Santorelli missed the net completely. That should have been a goal.

I made a point to Kyle Whitney during the game about great players. My example was Sidney Crosby, who is actually a phenomenal passer. I watched Crosby set up Mark Recchi for a hat trick one night. Crosby has had more of his unbelievable passes than goals appear on the SportsCenter Top 10.

Santorelli needs to find a way to use his skating ability to get other players open, then set them up for a goal. The most recognized offensive player of year is not recognized by the number of goals he scores, but the number of points he accumulates. In that race, an assist is just as good as a goal. Santorelli needs to realize that.

Olver did and that is why he is a much better all-around player. Maybe Santorelli isn't as ready for the NHL as we thought he was.

Friday, February 23, 2007

2/23 NMU-MU line charts, game notes (UPDATED)


- Bateman-Olver-Siddall
- Lehtinen-Santorelli-Hartung
- Sigmund-Collins-Sirota
- Kaunisto-Marple-Sarauer

- Tarkir-Dorich
- Maunu-Selden

- Zaniboni in net


- Loupee-Lacombe-Hetland
- Steffes-Smith-Musitelli
- Mercier-Christie-Palmer

- Ganzak-Roeder
- Martinez-Eichenlaub

- Zatkoff in net

Wildcat game notes can be found at

Redhawk notes are posted at

*Edit: Zatkoff in net for Miami, not Effinger.

What's on deck

Kyle Whitney and Matt Wellens will both be covering the Northern Michigan-Miami series from the Berry Events Center this weekend. Here is what to expect from them at Tech Still Sucks:

- Pre-game line charts for each team, each night.

- Following the games, check back here for post game analysis from Matt and Kyle, read it, then listen to their thoughts.

- Also, check here Saturday and Sunday morning to listen to post game interviews from the locker rooms for Miami and NMU.

- And finally, make sure to check out and to check out Kyle and Matt's game-stories and recaps. Matt will also have an NMU hockey notebook in Monday's Mining Journal looking at the CCHA playoff picture.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Finally...A Bobby Selden feature

Through out his childhood, Negaunee's Bobby Selden dreamed of playing for the Northern Michigan Wildcats.

And in my four years of dropping by the NMU locker room to interview players, Selden never ceased to toss me a story idea or ask to be interviewed.

After shooting down his story about his new skates and even his idea for an NMU hockey swimsuit calendar (that one freaked me out), I decided to drop by practice Wednesday to do a feature on the pride of Negaunee...who happened to have a skunk pelt taped to his helmet.

You would think Selden would have been overjoyed to hear someone was finally doing a feature about him but here was his initial response:

"I don't know. I want to keep a low profile."

Try saying out of the penalty box, Bobby (he does have half as many PIM this season compared to the previous two).

Selden finally did come around and you can read the feature titled, A True Cat, in today's edition of the Mining Journal.

MJ Weekend Preview

No. 9 Miami Redhawks (22-10-4 overall, 15-7-4 CCHA)
at Northern Michigan Wildcats (12-20-2, 9-16-1).
7:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Berry Events Center

Senior Salute – Northern Michigan University will honor its nine seniors prior to Saturday night’s contest, including local products Bobby Selden and Josh Hatinger of Negaunee and Rob Lehtinen of Marquette. The Blue Line Club will also the nine seniors during Friday’s luncheon at UpFront and Company. The luncheon begins at noon and is open to the public. Tickets cost $7.75 at the door.

What’s at stake? – This weekend will not be all about farewells as the Cats continue to battle for a home-ice playoff game in the first round of the CCHA playoffs. In order for that to happen, NMU will need to sweep Miami and get some help. Western Michigan must sweep Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie and Notre Dame must take at least one point from Ferris State in South Bend, Ind.
Ironically, it was the Western Michigan Broncos who took three points from Nebraska-Omaha last year at this time to give NMU a first-round bye. In the Broncos the Cats trust.

And if help doesn’t come? – Then the Wildcats are playing not to go to Nebraska-Omaha or Ohio State. If the Wildcats can jump Ferris State and shake their tie with Alaska by moving into ninth place, NMU could find itself taking a much shorter trip to Lake Superior State instead for the playoffs.

Santorelli Watch – NMU junior forward Mike Santorelli trails Niagara’s Tim Cook by three goals in the race to be college hockey’s leading goal scorer. Cook sits at 29 goals while Santorelli is stuck on 26. Trailing Santorelli is Miami’s Ryan Jones with 25 goals and North Dakota’s Ryan Duncan with 24 goals.

Promos, promos, promos – TCF Bank is sponsoring a “White Out” by giving away T-shirts to the first 500 fans Friday night … NMU hockey will hold Part II of its silent auction with sports memorabilia from Tri-Star Celebrations. The auction begins at 7 p.m. … The first 1000 fans Saturday will receive 2006-07 NMU hockey trading cards featuring the senior class. Players will be available for autographs after the game.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The 2006-2007 Wildcat Senior Class

This Saturday night is Senior Night at the Berry, and the Wildcat seniors will be honored. This is a class of players that, essentially took a gamble when they chose NMU. They took a gamble on a head coach that was still new to the position and they took a gamble on a program in transition.

It is four years later, and it appears that the gamble has paid off (for the most part). Despite an unsuccessful 06-07 regular season, the 'Cats have gone 65-43-13 in the previous three campaigns. They have failed to reach the NCAA Tourney, but have, each year, advanced in the CCHA Tournament and arrived at the Joe Louis Arena. This is a feat that only two other CCHA clubs have accomplished in that time.*

Without further ado, here is the Wildcat senior class of 06-07.

*This claim comes from Pat Bateman. I haven't taken the time to validate it, but I'll trust him this time.

Name, position (season stats, career stats (GP-G-A-Pts))
Pat Bateman, F (34-5-7-12, 144-34-50-84)

The captain of the NMU squad, Bateman says that senior night will simply be a celebration of hard work and friendship. He remembers the senior classes before his instilling traits of hard work and leadership on the underclassmen and hopes to leave the same behind.

As for his future?

"He's going to certainly have some career in hockey post-college," NMU head coach Walt Kyle said. "He will be able to play at some level professionally and he has the skills to be a big-time player, it's just whether it can all come together for him. He is the kind of soldier that we want as a part of the program."

Bates leaves the impression, though, that he hasn't look
ed too closely at his future just yet.

“Right now my options are open," he said. "I’d like to play pro hockey for a bit and if that doesn’t work out like expected or if I don’t see myself progressing to the next level, I have a finance degree and I can always go back to school, if need be, or start in my field.”
Bill Zaniboni, G (73 GP, 31-33-6; 2.51 GAA, .911 SV% this season)

Zaniboni is in only his third season at NMU, but due to an NCAA eligibility rule, he is in his final season as a Wildcat. He has started in net for the past two seasons. Kyle credits Zaniboni with knuckling down, both on and off the ice, and with always doing what is asked of him.

The netminder
believes that NMU hockey is community-wide and that he and his teammates are role models for the younger generation.

“As a player coming in here, Walt stresses that this is one big family, no matter what," Zaniboni said. "I don’t really want to look at it as a departure. Hopefully, I’ll be back here involved in the program somehow. We lead by example, on and off the ice. I play a lot of minutes here. Off the ice I try to live my life right and be someone for people to look up to, especially little kids in the community. I think that’s a big part of this program.”

Zaniboni will pursue hockey beyond NMU, but is glad that he will always have a degree to fall back on.

Darin Olver, F (34-11-18-29, 151-48-92-140)

Olver is a 2004 NHL draft pick of the New York Rangers. Selected 36
th overall, he was the highest drafted NMU player in history.

Olver led the 'Cats in scoring for each of his first three seasons and has over 100 points in his career. The most limiting aspect of Olver's game, said Kyle, was the fact that NMU never had a great complement for him.

"His true strength is as a playmaking center and although he has led t
he team in scoring for his first three years, one of the things that has hindered him is that we have never had a high-end offensive winger to play with him," Kyle said. "If we ever would have had that, I think the numbers would have been even better. Darin is a big talent and another guy that will, in some fashion, go on to play professional hockey."

Kyle went on to
say that Olver was one player that he trusted completely.

The son of assistant NMU coach John Olver, Darin declined to comment on his futur
e plans.

"I don't know what my plans are," he said. "I wish I knew what they were."

Bobby Selden, D (34-0-2-2, 136-2-20-22)

Selden is a native of Negaunee and came to NMU from the USNTDP U-squads.

Kyle said that he is always happy to get a good local player and that Bobby was certainly one of those guys, adding that Bobby was playing through injury for most of his time on the ice and that he constatnly peaked at the right time.

"He always, every year, saved his best hockey for the last part of the year and has played his very best in the playoffs," Kyle said. "He is a guy that is real strong, a power defenseman, a real imposing checker. He will play professionally at some level and might even be more effective when he can play more physical."

Josh Hatinger, G

Hatinger is also a Negaunee native and has been with the Wildcats for four years. He has played just one full game all season, a 5-4 overtime victory over the USNTDP U-18 team in December. Hatinger stopped 22 of 26 shots in the overtime win.

Hatinger is a hockey official and works the occassional local game. He will likely continue down the reffing path.

"Josh is a guy that is, again, one of those local guys that we're blessed to have," Kyle said. "To me, those are the most rewarding to coach. He is a referee and I'm sure you'll see him reffing in this league and maybe further into professional hockey."

Matt Maunu, D (34-4-9-13, 152-7-24-31)

Matt Maunu is having one of the best years of his life, both professionally and personally. After getting married in the off-season, Maunu has now had his statistical best season as a Wildcat.

Even though he had to step into Wildcat skates sooner than expected, he has performed admirably, Kyle said.

"Initially we recruited Matt a year ahead," Kyle said. "We lost Juha Allen when he signed after his freshman year so we had to accelerate Matt and bring him in a year early. He has lived up to expectations and, in fact, has exceeded them."

Kyle also commented on the level of commitment and responsibility that Maunu has shown in his personal life.

Zach Tarkir, D (34-6-10-16, 144-13-32-45)

The soft-spoken Tarkir came to NMU from Fresno, California four years ago. He played youth and junior hockey with Darin Olver and was brought to Kyle's attention by John Olver, Darin's father.

He is a draft pick of the New Jersey Devils and is also playing the best hockey of his career this season.

"Zach is a guy that was recruited along with Darin Olver," Kyle said. "Really, I became aware of Zach through Darin's father prior to him working here. Zach is a guy with exceptional talent. I think he has improved each year since being here...He does everything that he is told and he is another one that will certainly get a chance to play the game professionally."

Dusty Collins, F (34-2-2-4, 129-9-14-23)

Collins is a native of Gilbert, Arizona and has battled through injuries throughout his entire career, while still managing to play in 129 games.

Collins has played injured for nearly all of 06-07.

"Dusty is a big power forwards that has battled injuries the last couple of years," Kyle said. "People don't know, but he has played this entire season with his hand, basically, in a cast and with screws in his wrist from an injury that he had last year."

Kyle went on to say that Collins is a hard-hitting forward whose impact goes beyond the score sheet and that he is, also, an elite student.

Rob Lehtinen, F (34-2-8-10, 148-17-32-49)

If you have a conversation with Walt Kyle, it is easy to see how much he appreciates both:

1) a good local player


2) a hard-hitting powerful forward

Kyle got both when Marquette native Rob Lehtinen became a Wildcat.

"Rob Lehtinen is an elite defensive player," he said. "He may be the best defensive forward in college hockey, that's how good he is. He's an elite penalty killer, he plays the game defensively and he has an incredible work ethic. I think he is a good skater and he is gritty. If you went through that class and asked who the guys were that I would take on my hockey team, any day, any team, Rob Lehtinen is one of those guys."

Kyle said that Lehtinen could also play professional hockey, but that he is a role player and that he would have to meet with the right coaching staff. Kyle added that Lehtinen also comes on in the playoffs every year.

With the departure of the leaders, new Wildcats will have to emerge next season, plugging holes and taking charge. Hopefully that will be enough.

"In this class and in last year's class, we lost a lot of quality impact guys," Kyle said. "Darin has led our team in scoring for the past three years, Rob Lehtinen has played every critical defensive minute for the last three years, Bill is our starting goaltender and Bateman is as steady a player as there is. Those are certainly some key guys to replace."

Monday, February 19, 2007

NMU Winter Apparel Drive

From NMU Sports Information concerning this weekend's series between NMU and Miami at the Berry Events Center:
The Northern Michigan University Winter Apparel Drive, sponsored by the NMU Volunteer Center and WinterFest, is currently underway and will continue until Feb. 24, 2007.

Collection for the drive will be held at the NMU hockey games at the Berry Events Center on Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24, where fans can donate their hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, coats, etc. to local charities.

WinterFest volunteers will be at all entrances to accept donations. All items from the program will be sent to Janzen House, Harbor House and Voice for Youth.

CCHA Tie-Breaking Procedures

The CCHA has posted its tie-breaking procedures online at the link below.

The first tie-breaker is not head-to-head record, but conference wins. This is the stipulation that put the Wildcats over Omaha last year, giving NMU the first round bye, while UNO went on the road.

A similar situation could happen this year involving NMU and Lake Superior State. The Lakers loss to Michigan Sunday did keep the Wildcats alive in the chase for home-ice in the first round.

If the Lakers get swept by Western Michigan and the Wildcats sweep Miami, Northern will win the tie breaker over LSSU because of more conference wins.

In order to secure home-ice, however, NMU will need Ferris to take three points or less from Notre Dame. NMU would win the tiebreaker over FSU because the Cats outscored the Dogs, 7-6, in their January series.

Again, here is the scenario for NMU to get home ice:

1) NMU must take four points from Miami at home


2) Western Michigan must take four points at LSSU


3) Notre Dame must take at least one point from Ferris

The Western sweep at LSSU may seem unlikely but it was the Broncos who gave the Wildcats a first-round bye last season by taking 3-of-4 from UNO in Kalamazoo.

Again in 2007, in Culhane the Cats trust...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cook extends lead

Niagara's Ted Cook extended his lead over Mike Santorelli this weekend posting a goal on Friday and Saturday night against Wayne State to reach 29 goals. Santorelli has 26.

A new player has also joined the goal race and he will meet Santorelli head-to-head next weekend in Marquette. Ryan Jones of Miami scored five goals against Robert Morris to reach 25 for the season. Jones posted a hat trick on Friday and added two more, including an empty netter, on Saturday.

With four games left on the schedule for North Dakota, Ryan Duncan kept himself in the mix by posting a goal each night against Minnesota-Duluth, brining his total to 24. Brandon Wong of Quinnipiac was held scoreless this weekend while Omaha's Scott Parse notched two goals on Friday against Ohio State. Wong and Parse are tied at 23 goals.