2001-02 Northern Michigan Season Preview


Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the Wildcat
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An unpredictable cause.

Rick Comley has commented in the past about his recruiting disadvantages. As the most remote team within the state of Michigan, Comley knows that he’s not likely to lure someone away from Michigan or Michigan State.

But the man who leads the hardest-working team in college hockey doesn’t do bad, either.

O Captain! My Captain!

The Wildcats, one of three teams playing as many as 10 rookies last season, return a veteran squad led by captain Sean Connolly, and assistants Jimmy Jackson, Bryce Cockburn, and Sean Owens.

“This group of upperclassmen has three years of college hockey experience,” says Comley. “They will provide leadership necessary for us to be a successful hockey team.”

Connolly (5-14-19, plus-5) leads the Northern Michigan defense along with Jackson (7-24-31, plus-6), two point men on the Wildcat power play.

While players named Bishai, Hilbert, Cammalleri, and Gove garnered most of the attention for lighting that lamp last season, Cockburn quietly amassed 21 goals an 11 assists to finish second in NMU scoring, with a plus-22 plus/minus ratio. Good things happen with this junior is on the ice, to put it mildly.

October Inventory

Chad Theuer (10-27-37) is the top returning scorer from last season, while Terry Harrison (15-16-31), Jackson (7-24-31), and Chris Gobert 10-20-30) add to the Wildcats’ offensive, score-by-committee prowess. In fact, the ‘Cats lost just one 30-point player from last season (Fred Mattersdorfer).

A Backward Glance?

Departed senior Dan Ragusett and sophomore Craig Kowalski (.906 SV%, 2.73 GAA) split time in the Wildcat net last season. The fortunes of Northern Michigan will depend on how well Kowalski performs during his second year.