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 time7:07 PM EST
LocationBerry Events Center, Marquette, Michigan
Radio broadcastMix 93.5 FM WKMJ
TV broadcastFox UP
Twitter Stream@NMUHockey @mtuhky
MTU season record21-16-5 (12-11-5-2 WCHA)
NMU season record25-14-3 (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 meetings148
Total goals scored990
Total goals for MTU463
Total goals for NMU527
Average goals per game6.69
All-time seriesNMU leads, 72-62-14
First meetingMTU 3, NMU 2 – Nov 23, 1979
Last meetingMTU 2, NMU 0 – Mar 17, 2018$
Largest victoryNMU 9, MTU 0 – Oct 8, 1999
Longest win streakNMU, 7 games (1998-99)
Longest unbeaten streakNMU, 10 games (1998-2000)
Current win streakMTU, 2 games (2018)
No.DateLocationWinnerScoreNotes
1Nov 23, 1979HoughtonHuskies3-2
2Nov 24, 1979HoughtonWildcats6-2
3Nov 7, 1980HoughtonHuskies3-1
4Nov 8, 1980HoughtonTie1-1OT
5Jan 2, 1981MarquetteWildcats3-2
6Jan 3, 1981MarquetteWildcats5-2
7Mar 28, 1981*Duluth, Minn.Huskies5-2
8Jan 15, 1982HoughtonHuskies6-2
9Jan 16, 1982MarquetteHuskies6-4
10Feb 19, 1982MarquetteHuskies5-4
11Feb 20, 1982HoughtonHuskies7-2
12Jan 14, 1983MarquetteHuskies4-3OT
13Jan 15, 1983HoughtonWildcats9-3
14Feb 18, 1983HoughtonHuskies5-1
15Feb 19, 1983MarquetteHuskies4-1
16Mar 5, 1983^HoughtonWildcats3-2
17Mar 6, 1983^HoughtonTie3-3
18Oct 14, 1983MarquetteHuskies5-4
19Oct 15, 1983HoughtonHuskies6-2
20Dec 16, 1983HoughtonWildcats2-1
21Dec 17, 1983MarquetteWildcats4-3OT
22Feb 10, 1984MarquetteWildcats8-5
23Feb 11, 1984HoughtonHuskies4-3OT
24Oct 26, 1984MarquetteHuskies5-4OT
25Oct 27, 1984HoughtonWildcats6-3
26Jan 18, 1985HoughtonHuskies3-2
27Jan 19, 1985MarquetteHuskies8-6
28Oct 11, 1985MarquetteTie2-2OT
29Oct 12, 1985HoughtonWildcats10-2
30Dec 13, 1985MarquetteWildcats6-5OT
31Dec 14, 1985HoughtonWildcats8-1
32Feb 7, 1986HoughtonWildcats6-2
33Feb 8, 1986MarquetteHuskies5-3
34Oct 31, 1986MarquetteWildcats4-3OT
35Nov 1, 1986HoughtonWildcats6-1
36Jan 30, 1987HoughtonWildcats5-1
37Jan 31, 1987MarquetteHuskies4-3
38Nov 11, 1987HoughtonHuskies4-3OT
39Nov 21, 1987MarquetteTie4-4OT
40Jan 14, 1988MarquetteHuskies4-2
41Jan 16, 1988HoughtonHuskies7-2
42Oct 28, 1988MarquetteWildcats6-2
43Oct 29, 1988HoughtonHuskies6-4
44Jan 6, 1989HoughtonHuskies6-5OT
45Jan 7, 1989MarquetteWildcats4-2
46Oct 27, 1989MarquetteWildcats8-3
47Oct 28, 1989HoughtonHuskies5-4OT
48Dec 30, 1989#Detroit, Mich.Huskies5-1
49Jan 26, 1990HoughtonWildcats10-7
50Jan 27, 1990MarquetteWildcats3-2OT
51Nov 30, 1990MarquetteWildcats6-3
52Dec 1, 1990HoughtonWildcats4-3
53Feb 15, 1991HoughtonWildcats4-1
54Feb 16, 1991MarquetteWildcats6-2
55Nov 1, 1991MarquetteHuskies3-2
56Nov 2, 1991HoughtonTie4-4OT
57Feb 14, 1992HoughtonWildcats4-3
58Feb 15, 1992MarquetteWildcats7-3
59Mar 13, 1992+MarquetteWildcats9-1
60Mar 14, 1992+MarquetteWildcats6-2
61Nov 13, 1992HoughtonWildcats4-3
62Nov 14, 1992MarquetteHuskies4-3
63Feb 19, 1993MarquetteWildcats3-2
64Feb 20, 1993HoughtonHuskies4-3
65Mar 18, 1993St. Paul, Minn.Wildcats4-2
66Oct 29, 1993MarquetteWildcats7-3
67Oct 30, 1993HoughtonHuskies6-3
68Mar 4, 1994HoughtonHuskies5-3
69Mar 5, 1994MarquetteWildcats3-2
70Mar 17, 1994Milwaukee, Wisc.Huskies5-1
71Nov 4, 1994HoughtonHuskies3-1
72Nov 5, 1994MarquetteHuskies6-2
73Feb 17, 1995MarquetteHuskies5-3
74Feb 18, 1995HoughtonWildcats8-3
75Dec 30, 1995#Detroit, Mich.Huskies6-2
76Jan 12, 1996MarquetteWildcats4-3
77Jan 13, 1996HoughtonHuskies4-2
78Feb 9, 1996HoughtonHuskies6-2
79Feb 10, 1996MarquetteWildcats6-1
80Oct 11, 1996HoughtonWildcats3-2
81Oct 12, 1996MarquetteHuskies5-2
82Feb 21, 1997MarquetteWildcats4-3
83Feb 22, 1997HoughtonWildcats5-3
84Oct 17, 1997MarquetteTie4-4OT
85Oct 18, 1997HoughtonHuskies8-2
86Oct 9, 1998HoughtonWildcats8-2
87Oct 10, 1998MarquetteWildcats3-0
88Dec 27, 1998#Detroit, Mich.Wildcats8-1
89Oct 8, 1999MarquetteWildcats9-0
90Oct 9, 1999HoughtonWildcats3-0
91Nov 19, 1999HoughtonWildcats4-2
92Nov 20, 1999MarquetteWildcats4-2
93Oct 6, 2000HoughtonTie3-3OT
94Dec 8, 2000HoughtonWildcats4-1
95Dec 9, 2000MarquetteWildcats5-2
96Jan 5, 2001MarquetteHuskies4-2
97Dec 14, 2001HoughtonHuskies5-3
98Dec 15, 2001MarquetteWildcats6-1
99Oct 5, 2002HoughtonWildcats4-1
100Dec 13, 2002MarquetteHuskies3-2
101Oct 17, 2003MarquetteWildcats4-3OT
102Oct 18, 2003HoughtonHuskies7-6OT
103Dec 12, 2003HoughtonTie3-3OT
104Dec 13, 2003MarquetteWildcats2-0
105Nov 4, 2004HoughtonTie6-6OT
106Nov 6, 2004MarquetteWildcats6-3
107Feb 17, 2005MarquetteTie3-3OT
108Feb 19, 2005HoughtonWildcats5-3
109Oct 21, 2005MarquetteWildcats5-1
110Oct 22, 2005HoughtonWildcats2-1
111Oct 13, 2006HoughtonHuskies2-1
112Oct 14, 2006MarquetteWildcats1-0
113Oct 12, 2007HoughtonWildcats3-2
114Dec 14, 2007MarquetteTie1-1OT
115Dec 15, 2007HoughtonWildcats2-0
116Oct 10, 2008MarquetteWildcats5-2
117Dec 19, 2008HoughtonHuskies2-1
118Dec 20, 2008MarquetteHuskies1-0
119Oct 9, 2009HoughtonHuskies5-3
120Dec 18, 2009MarquetteWildcats2-1
121Jan 12, 2010HoughtonTie1-1OT
122Oct 8, 2010MarquetteHuskies4-3OT
123Oct 12, 2010HoughtonTie4-4OT
124Dec 17, 2010MarquetteWildcats6-2
125Dec 16, 2011MarquetteWildcats4-1
126Jan 21, 2012HoughtonWildcats5-2
127Dec 4, 2012MarquetteWildcats2-1
128Feb 12, 2013HoughtonHuskies8-2
129Oct 25, 2013MarquetteWildcats2-0
130Oct 26, 2013HoughtonHuskies4-1
131Feb 21, 2014HoughtonHuskies7-4
132Feb 22, 2014MarquetteHuskies3-2
133Jan 9, 2015MarquetteTie3-3OT
134Jan 10, 2015HoughtonWildcats5-4OT
135Mar 6, 2015HoughtonHuskies5-1
136Mar 7, 2015MarquetteHuskies3-1
137Oct 23, 2015MarquetteWildcats4-1
138Oct 24, 2015HoughtonHuskies3-1
139Mar 4, 2016HoughtonHuskies4-0
140Mar 5, 2016MarquetteHuskies5-1
141Oct 28, 2016HoughtonHuskies2-0
142Oct 29, 2016MarquetteHuskies5-1
143Feb 24, 2017MarquetteHuskies3-2
144Feb 25, 2017HoughtonWildcats5-3
145Nov 10, 2017HoughtonHuskies4-1
146Nov 11, 2017MarquetteWildcats4-0
147Feb 23, 2018MarquetteWildcats2-1
148Feb 24, 2018HoughtonHuskies3-2
149Mar 17, 2018$MarquetteHuskies2-0

* 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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