Ramada Cup Stays with Northern
by Brandon Craig
MARQUETTE and HOUGHTON, Mich. – One wild weekend of hockey spelled victory for Northern Michigan, which along with U.P. rival Michigan Tech went at it again in a home and home series to decide the Ramada Cup – traditionally the symbol of college hockey supremacy in the Upper Peninsula.
Northern (16-9-7) hoisted the hardware after Saturday night’s 5-3 victory over the Huskies (8-20-3) in Houghton, a come from behind win for the visiting ‘Cats but a familiar story to the lately hot Tech squad.
Despite carrying a 2-0 lead well into the second period, MTU could not hold on and NMU struck at all the right times, defeating their old rival in front of an array of fans, including traveling Wildcat fans.
MTU scored two power-play goals in the first two periods of play, one at 4:34 of the first by Tyler Shelast and then another at 4:57 of the second by Chris Conner. Nathan Oystrick got Northern on the board at 16:03 of the second period.
Pat Bateman, Andrew Contois and Dirk Southern also scored for the Wildcats, all in the third period.
Lars Helminen scored the third goal for MTU with 15 seconds left in regulation but Bateman found the empty net with a second left in the game to seal the deal for the Wildcats.
Thursday’s game in Marquette saw the Wildcats and Huskies play an entertaining all out U.P. style brawl that ended up a 3-3 tie.
A brawl indeed as Northern Michigan set a new record for penalty minutes in a game - 91 penalty minutes on 24 penalties. The old record was 87 minutes against Ohio State on Jan. 30, 1981.
Conversely, the Huskies were called for 23 penalties for a total of 100 minutes.
“That is the kind of things that happens,” said NMU coach Walt Kyle.
“They are a good hockey team and work hard. I thought it was a real good game tonight.”
The entertainment was not lost on many. NMU also set a new attendance record at the 5 year old Berry Events Center as 4,216 U.P. hockey fans packed in to watch the beloved schools go at it.
Northern Michigan is back in CCHA play this weekend as they take on the Ferris State Bulldogs in Big Rapids, with what could prove to be a prelude to a possible playoff matchup.