by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Walt Kyle
2006-07 Record: 15-24-2 (10-17-1 CCHA)
Key Returnees: Matt Siddall F SR., Andrew Sarauer F SR., Nick Sirota F JR., Nathan Sigmund F JR., Brian Stewart G SO., T.J. Miller D SO., Alan Dorich D SO., Matt Butcher F SO., Ray Kaunisto F SO.
Key Losses: Mike Santorelli (underclassman), Pat Bateman, Darin Oliver, Zach Tarkir, Bobby Selden, Matt Maunu, Rob Lehtinen, Dusty Collins
Inconsistency was the name of the game in 2006-07 for the Northern Michigan Wildcats.
After a 22-16-2 mark in 2005-06 that included a trip to the Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA semifinals, Northern Michigan fans saw a seven-win drop. However, the team did manage to win a series against Ohio State in the CCHA quarterfinals.
"I was disappointed with the results," said Wildcat coach Walt Kyle. "Still thought we could've had four or five more wins. We weren't happy, but we did do well in the playoffs."
This year the Wildcats will have two big holes to fill. One is to replace leading scorer Mike Santorelli, who decided to go pro in July. The next is to find a guy between the pipes.
The first task, will be really tough. Santorelli scored 30 goals last season and basically carried the offense. Darin Olver, the teams second leading goal scorer (14) is also gone. Which means only one player (Nick Sirota) returns with 10-plus goals in 2006-07.
The second task might have been answered during the Ohio State playoff series last year.
"Brian Stewart will be the starter going into the season," said Kyle. "He took over the last two games against Ohio State now he will carry the load."
One positive going into the season according to Kyle was the incoming class of 2011.
"The recruiting was good," said Kyle. "I am real happy about it. We have had a large class the past two years."
A couple of names that Kyle threw out there from last year's class were Phil Fox (who is a red-shirt freshman) and from this year's class Bill Smith.
A captain has not been named yet to this team. "We have a number of candidates," Kyle said about the possibilities. "We will see who takes charge."
Wildcat fans are happy that the misery of 2006-07 is behind them and that they can look ahead to 2007-08.
"We lost a big class," Kyle mentioned. "We underachieved last year. Our goal this year is to find a work ethic to overachieve. We have a good core of guys returning."