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A look ahead: NMU’s return to the WCHA racks up frequent flyer miles
March 7, 2013 - Matt Wellens
MARQUETTE — The WCHA released its composite schedule on Thursday afternoon, giving Northern Michigan University hockey fans a glimpse into the future, and it looks cloudy.
The Wildcats will be spending plenty of time in those clouds, racking up an insane amount of frequent flyer miles traveling to Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, as well as Huntsville, Ala. to close the regular season.
Here are the highlights:
— I think it’s appropriate that the Wildcats play their first series back in the WCHA against Michigan Tech on Oct. 25-26. It’s a great welcome back in my opinion. Right now the league has both games of the series slated for Marquette and the Feb. 21-22 series slated for Houghton, however, expect both of those to turn into home-and-home series.
— For the first time since 1998-99 season, NMU and Lake Superior State will not play four times. That season they met three times. The only series is scheduled for Feb. 14-15 in Marquette. That is not expected to turn into a home-and-home.
— NMU will travel to Alaska (Fairbanks) Nov. 1-2, Alaska-Anchorage Jan. 24-25 and Alabama-Huntsville March 7-8. I think it only would have been fair to send NMU to Huntsville in January rather than Anchorage since the ’Cats are doing the triple threat. NMU will fly to all three series and a portion of each series is being subsidized by the host school, per agreements worked out with the league.
— The only nonconference series I have confirmed at this time — via Brad Schlossman at the Grand Forks Herald — is a Dec. 13-14 series at North Dakota. NMU is also slated to play a series at Wisconsin and at home against Nebraska-Omaha.
The Wildcats do have back-to-back open weekends Nov. 1-2 and Nov. 8-9. The second weekend would be appealing to get a non-league series in, while the first weekend would be a good week to recover from a trip to Fairbanks.
Of course, NMU has only won three games total — not counting shootouts — in the month of November over the past two seasons, so maybe the less November games the better.
The Wisconsin series will most likely take place Oct. 18-19 to open the season.
— Because NMU has four games in Alaska this year, it gets four game excemptions and can play up to 38 games. By my count, NMU currently is only scheduled for 34.
The Wildcats did have a 36-game slate set up with its fourth non-league series being against Alabama-Huntsville at home, however, that series (Nov. 22-23) is now a league series, leaving Northern short of a revenue-generating weekend. Expect a delay in NMU releasing its full schedule as it tries to find another team to host in Marquette, if that is at all possible.
Below is the schedule as it looks now:
* — nonconference
Other nonconference series still pending dates:
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