NMU and MTU Face Off in Biggest Game of Storied Rivalry

Since 1979, there have been 148 hockey games played Michigan Tech University and Northern Michigan University, making it one of the most storied college hockey rivalries.

On Saturday, the teams will play for the 149th time, in what will be unequivocally the biggest game in the history of the rivalry. The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Michigan.

2018 WCHA Championship

What makes this game the greatest matchup in the 39-year rivalry?

For much of their history, Tech and Northern were in different conferences. Tech has long been in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Northern on the other hand has predominantly played in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).

During these years the teams would play during the regular season and did not have the opportunity to play each other in the playoffs. After the 2012-13 season, the CCHA disbanded and the Big Ten hockey conference was created. For the first time since 1997 Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan were playing in the same conference.

However, there have been a few notable exceptions to regular season play. The teams have met three times in the annual Great Lakes Invitational (GLI), in 1989, 1995, and 1998. Michigan Tech won two of the three meetings, none of which were played for the GLI Championship. On four occasions they met in early rounds of the WCHA Tournament, and twice in the CCHA Tournament.

In order of importance, this leads us to the 1981 NCAA Frozen Four tournament. This was the first and only time the Huskies and Wildcats met in the NCAA tournament, where they each reached the semifinals. Had they won, they would have competed against each other for the national championship. However, they were each dealt hefty losses. Wisconsin beat NMU 5-1, while Minnesota beat MTU 7-2.

The highest profile game the two have played to date, was Mar 28, 1981, for the 3rd place game in the NCAA tournament. Playing in Duluth, the Huskies went on to win that game by a score of 5-2.

Michigan Tech vs Northern Michigan

This brings us to the 2017-2018 college hockey season. Michigan Tech has seen a recent resurgence in their program, winning the regular season WCHA title in 2016 and winning the WCHA tournament title in 2017. Northern Michigan on the other hand has faced a string of difficult seasons, finishing the regular season in 8th place in WCHA, out of ten teams.

Two teams, in different places with their programs, suddenly faced the same challenge. With the Huskies’ success, their coach Mel Pearson moved on to coach the University of Michigan. On the other hand the Wildcats released their longtime coach, Walt Kyle.

To start the season, each team faced the challenges of a rookie coach. Joe Shawhan, (a former assistant coach at NMU) took the helm for the Huskies, while Grant Potulny took over coaching duties for the Wildcats.

During the season they faced off against each other on four separate occasions. Twice at Michigan Tech, and twice at Northern Michigan. The hometown went on to win each game, meaning they split the season series 2-2, setting up an ultimate tie-breaker on NMU’s home ice for the WCHA Championship.

It wouldn’t come easy for either team. In the semifinals, both teams went to a best of three game. Their mirrored storylines continued as they each went on to win in overtime, finishing their games only minutes apart.

Now here we are, the greatest rivalry in the Upper Peninsula will face off in front of a sold out crowd at the Berry Events Center. We’ll be cheering for a good game, preferably one that ends in overtime and grows the presence of hockey across the Upper Peninsula.

Game Information

Game time 7:07 PM EST
Location Berry Events Center, Marquette, Michigan
Radio broadcast Mix 93.5 FM WKMJ
TV broadcast Fox UP
Twitter Stream @NMUHockey @mtuhky
MTU season record 21-16-5 (12-11-5-2 WCHA)
NMU season record 25-14-3 (19-7-2-2 WCHA)
2018 WCHA Championship

Complete Series History

As the record stands today, the Wildcats hold a slight advantage with a 48.6 win percentage.

Total meetings 148
Total goals scored 990
Total goals for MTU 463
Total goals for NMU 527
Average goals per game 6.69
All-time series NMU leads, 72-62-14
First meeting MTU 3, NMU 2 – Nov 23, 1979
Last meeting MTU 2, NMU 0 – Mar 17, 2018$
Largest victory NMU 9, MTU 0 – Oct 8, 1999
Longest win streak NMU, 7 games (1998-99)
Longest unbeaten streak NMU, 10 games (1998-2000)
Current win streak MTU, 2 games (2018)
No. Date Location Winner Score Notes
1 Nov 23, 1979 Houghton Huskies 3-2
2 Nov 24, 1979 Houghton Wildcats 6-2
3 Nov 7, 1980 Houghton Huskies 3-1
4 Nov 8, 1980 Houghton Tie 1-1 OT
5 Jan 2, 1981 Marquette Wildcats 3-2
6 Jan 3, 1981 Marquette Wildcats 5-2
7 Mar 28, 1981* Duluth, Minn. Huskies 5-2
8 Jan 15, 1982 Houghton Huskies 6-2
9 Jan 16, 1982 Marquette Huskies 6-4
10 Feb 19, 1982 Marquette Huskies 5-4
11 Feb 20, 1982 Houghton Huskies 7-2
12 Jan 14, 1983 Marquette Huskies 4-3 OT
13 Jan 15, 1983 Houghton Wildcats 9-3
14 Feb 18, 1983 Houghton Huskies 5-1
15 Feb 19, 1983 Marquette Huskies 4-1
16 Mar 5, 1983^ Houghton Wildcats 3-2
17 Mar 6, 1983^ Houghton Tie 3-3
18 Oct 14, 1983 Marquette Huskies 5-4
19 Oct 15, 1983 Houghton Huskies 6-2
20 Dec 16, 1983 Houghton Wildcats 2-1
21 Dec 17, 1983 Marquette Wildcats 4-3 OT
22 Feb 10, 1984 Marquette Wildcats 8-5
23 Feb 11, 1984 Houghton Huskies 4-3 OT
24 Oct 26, 1984 Marquette Huskies 5-4 OT
25 Oct 27, 1984 Houghton Wildcats 6-3
26 Jan 18, 1985 Houghton Huskies 3-2
27 Jan 19, 1985 Marquette Huskies 8-6
28 Oct 11, 1985 Marquette Tie 2-2 OT
29 Oct 12, 1985 Houghton Wildcats 10-2
30 Dec 13, 1985 Marquette Wildcats 6-5 OT
31 Dec 14, 1985 Houghton Wildcats 8-1
32 Feb 7, 1986 Houghton Wildcats 6-2
33 Feb 8, 1986 Marquette Huskies 5-3
34 Oct 31, 1986 Marquette Wildcats 4-3 OT
35 Nov 1, 1986 Houghton Wildcats 6-1
36 Jan 30, 1987 Houghton Wildcats 5-1
37 Jan 31, 1987 Marquette Huskies 4-3
38 Nov 11, 1987 Houghton Huskies 4-3 OT
39 Nov 21, 1987 Marquette Tie 4-4 OT
40 Jan 14, 1988 Marquette Huskies 4-2
41 Jan 16, 1988 Houghton Huskies 7-2
42 Oct 28, 1988 Marquette Wildcats 6-2
43 Oct 29, 1988 Houghton Huskies 6-4
44 Jan 6, 1989 Houghton Huskies 6-5 OT
45 Jan 7, 1989 Marquette Wildcats 4-2
46 Oct 27, 1989 Marquette Wildcats 8-3
47 Oct 28, 1989 Houghton Huskies 5-4 OT
48 Dec 30, 1989# Detroit, Mich. Huskies 5-1
49 Jan 26, 1990 Houghton Wildcats 10-7
50 Jan 27, 1990 Marquette Wildcats 3-2 OT
51 Nov 30, 1990 Marquette Wildcats 6-3
52 Dec 1, 1990 Houghton Wildcats 4-3
53 Feb 15, 1991 Houghton Wildcats 4-1
54 Feb 16, 1991 Marquette Wildcats 6-2
55 Nov 1, 1991 Marquette Huskies 3-2
56 Nov 2, 1991 Houghton Tie 4-4 OT
57 Feb 14, 1992 Houghton Wildcats 4-3
58 Feb 15, 1992 Marquette Wildcats 7-3
59 Mar 13, 1992+ Marquette Wildcats 9-1
60 Mar 14, 1992+ Marquette Wildcats 6-2
61 Nov 13, 1992 Houghton Wildcats 4-3
62 Nov 14, 1992 Marquette Huskies 4-3
63 Feb 19, 1993 Marquette Wildcats 3-2
64 Feb 20, 1993 Houghton Huskies 4-3
65 Mar 18, 1993 St. Paul, Minn. Wildcats 4-2
66 Oct 29, 1993 Marquette Wildcats 7-3
67 Oct 30, 1993 Houghton Huskies 6-3
68 Mar 4, 1994 Houghton Huskies 5-3
69 Mar 5, 1994 Marquette Wildcats 3-2
70 Mar 17, 1994 Milwaukee, Wisc. Huskies 5-1
71 Nov 4, 1994 Houghton Huskies 3-1
72 Nov 5, 1994 Marquette Huskies 6-2
73 Feb 17, 1995 Marquette Huskies 5-3
74 Feb 18, 1995 Houghton Wildcats 8-3
75 Dec 30, 1995# Detroit, Mich. Huskies 6-2
76 Jan 12, 1996 Marquette Wildcats 4-3
77 Jan 13, 1996 Houghton Huskies 4-2
78 Feb 9, 1996 Houghton Huskies 6-2
79 Feb 10, 1996 Marquette Wildcats 6-1
80 Oct 11, 1996 Houghton Wildcats 3-2
81 Oct 12, 1996 Marquette Huskies 5-2
82 Feb 21, 1997 Marquette Wildcats 4-3
83 Feb 22, 1997 Houghton Wildcats 5-3
84 Oct 17, 1997 Marquette Tie 4-4 OT
85 Oct 18, 1997 Houghton Huskies 8-2
86 Oct 9, 1998 Houghton Wildcats 8-2
87 Oct 10, 1998 Marquette Wildcats 3-0
88 Dec 27, 1998# Detroit, Mich. Wildcats 8-1
89 Oct 8, 1999 Marquette Wildcats 9-0
90 Oct 9, 1999 Houghton Wildcats 3-0
91 Nov 19, 1999 Houghton Wildcats 4-2
92 Nov 20, 1999 Marquette Wildcats 4-2
93 Oct 6, 2000 Houghton Tie 3-3 OT
94 Dec 8, 2000 Houghton Wildcats 4-1
95 Dec 9, 2000 Marquette Wildcats 5-2
96 Jan 5, 2001 Marquette Huskies 4-2
97 Dec 14, 2001 Houghton Huskies 5-3
98 Dec 15, 2001 Marquette Wildcats 6-1
99 Oct 5, 2002 Houghton Wildcats 4-1
100 Dec 13, 2002 Marquette Huskies 3-2
101 Oct 17, 2003 Marquette Wildcats 4-3 OT
102 Oct 18, 2003 Houghton Huskies 7-6 OT
103 Dec 12, 2003 Houghton Tie 3-3 OT
104 Dec 13, 2003 Marquette Wildcats 2-0
105 Nov 4, 2004 Houghton Tie 6-6 OT
106 Nov 6, 2004 Marquette Wildcats 6-3
107 Feb 17, 2005 Marquette Tie 3-3 OT
108 Feb 19, 2005 Houghton Wildcats 5-3
109 Oct 21, 2005 Marquette Wildcats 5-1
110 Oct 22, 2005 Houghton Wildcats 2-1
111 Oct 13, 2006 Houghton Huskies 2-1
112 Oct 14, 2006 Marquette Wildcats 1-0
113 Oct 12, 2007 Houghton Wildcats 3-2
114 Dec 14, 2007 Marquette Tie 1-1 OT
115 Dec 15, 2007 Houghton Wildcats 2-0
116 Oct 10, 2008 Marquette Wildcats 5-2
117 Dec 19, 2008 Houghton Huskies 2-1
118 Dec 20, 2008 Marquette Huskies 1-0
119 Oct 9, 2009 Houghton Huskies 5-3
120 Dec 18, 2009 Marquette Wildcats 2-1
121 Jan 12, 2010 Houghton Tie 1-1 OT
122 Oct 8, 2010 Marquette Huskies 4-3 OT
123 Oct 12, 2010 Houghton Tie 4-4 OT
124 Dec 17, 2010 Marquette Wildcats 6-2
125 Dec 16, 2011 Marquette Wildcats 4-1
126 Jan 21, 2012 Houghton Wildcats 5-2
127 Dec 4, 2012 Marquette Wildcats 2-1
128 Feb 12, 2013 Houghton Huskies 8-2
129 Oct 25, 2013 Marquette Wildcats 2-0
130 Oct 26, 2013 Houghton Huskies 4-1
131 Feb 21, 2014 Houghton Huskies 7-4
132 Feb 22, 2014 Marquette Huskies 3-2
133 Jan 9, 2015 Marquette Tie 3-3 OT
134 Jan 10, 2015 Houghton Wildcats 5-4 OT
135 Mar 6, 2015 Houghton Huskies 5-1
136 Mar 7, 2015 Marquette Huskies 3-1
137 Oct 23, 2015 Marquette Wildcats 4-1
138 Oct 24, 2015 Houghton Huskies 3-1
139 Mar 4, 2016 Houghton Huskies 4-0
140 Mar 5, 2016 Marquette Huskies 5-1
141 Oct 28, 2016 Houghton Huskies 2-0
142 Oct 29, 2016 Marquette Huskies 5-1
143 Feb 24, 2017 Marquette Huskies 3-2
144 Feb 25, 2017 Houghton Wildcats 5-3
145 Nov 10, 2017 Houghton Huskies 4-1
146 Nov 11, 2017 Marquette Wildcats 4-0
147 Feb 23, 2018 Marquette Wildcats 2-1
148 Feb 24, 2018 Houghton Huskies 3-2
149 Mar 17, 2018$ Marquette Huskies 2-0

* NCAA Frozen Four
^ CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal
# Great Lakes Invitational
+ WCHA Playoff First Round
WCHA Playoff Quarterfinal
$ WCHA Playoff Championship

Records compiled with information from Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan sports information offices. Photo credit: Northern Michigan University

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