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A Look at Northern Michigan

Last week we took a little closer look at Bowling Green. That seemed to work out well considering the Falcons went on to drop 2 of three last weekend to a combo of Western Michigan and Ferris State. Hopefully this doesn't jinx the Wildcats in the same manner.

Since my trips to Marquette are infrequent(I'm averaging one about every 22 years), I've called upon the expertise of loyal blog reader/Northern Michigan hockey fan Bob Cowles for his opinion on what is going on with the Wildcats.

1. In 50 words or less, give a quick overview of your team's season so far.

There are times when they'll wow you and there are times when they'll lull
you to sleep. We started out 5-1, then went 1-5, then started splitting
series, including losses to UAF, BG, Miami, and Wisconsin. They've swept
Ferris State and Western Michigan most recently.

2. What is the general consensus among fans about your team? (Is your coach
a God among men or an incompetent fool that should be attacked by a swarm of
bees? Do people at your school even realize that you have a hockey team?
etc.)

The consensus is that we are amazing when we put it all together and play
like a team. However, our fans also feel that we're capable of doing so much
more.
3. What does your team need to do better in the second half to improve?

Quite simply, complete passes and shoot the puck more, especially on the
power play.

4. Who is your team's star player and how has his season been going?

Our star player is Andy Contois, who received an early Christmas present by
being allowed to come back for one more year. His season has improved
recently, picking up a hat trick against Ferris State. Defensively, the star
is Nathan Oystrick, a quintessential offensive defenseman.

5. Who on your team doesn't receive the credit that he deserves?

Defensemen like Johnny Miller and Dusty Collins, hard workers who can get
nasty in the corners.

6. Who is your favorite player to watch?

Pat Bateman. He's a hard worker, excellent on the PP.

7. Who or what has been the biggest surprise for your team this season?

Nick Sirota... he's a monster rookie who, after being lined up with Contois
and Dirk Southern, has 3 goals and can flatten opponents.

8. What is going on with your team's goalie situation?

After splitting time between sophomore Bill Zaniboni and freshman Derek
Janzen, it appears that Zaniboni is the starter.

9. Where do you see your team in 3 months?

Playing for the CCHA championship and having an early exit in the NCAAs.

10. Who will you be saddest to see leave at the end of the season?

I'm sad about our senior class leaving, and that includes Oystrick,
Southern, Contois, Ciancio, Miller, Waugh, Murphy, and Milam.

11. Who are you most excited about joining your team next season?

I'm not clear as to the recruits as of this point, but I will let you know
as soon as I find an answer.

12. What has been the highlight of the season so far?

THE highlight is Andy Contois' hat trick against Ferris State on January 14,
2006. The lowlight is a choke job against Michigan State early in the year,
followed a last second loss against SCSU in OT off a Darin Olver turnover.