NMU hockey: Kyle continues to experiment with lineup amid injuries with North Dakota up next

MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University head coach Walt Kyle said he would like to get a few wins on Friday and Saturday against North Dakota in Grand Forks before his team heads on a two-week holiday break.

However, it’s a nonconference series and the Wildcats could use some more time to experiment with the lineup following the loss of senior captain and defenseman C.J. Ludwig for the season with a knee injury.

“For me as a coach, it’s probably an opportunity to experiment,” Kyle said Tuesday after practice. “We have a fairly disjointed lineup right now because of the loss of Ludwig.

Northern was swept in its final WCHA series of 2013 at Minnesota State a week ago – its first full weekend since losing Ludwig.

The captain’s absence resulted not only in a chain reaction among who would wear the captain’s C – that’s senior forward Stephan Vigier, who was replaced as an alternate captain by senior forward Ryan Kesti – but in the lineup with freshman Brock Maschmeyer moving from forward back to his natural position at defense.

NMU was also without senior forward Erik Higby in Mankato and junior defenseman Luke Eibler missed Friday’s loss at MSU due to injury before returning Saturday. Higby is out until at least the first series of 2014 on Jan. 3-4 at Bemidji State while Eibler is once again questionable for this weekend’s games against UND.

“Last weekend in my opinion, we weren’t very good and we were in a little bit of disarray,” Kyle said. “It’s an opportunity for me in a non-league series to look at some different options.”

The Wildcats did get some positive news when they left for Grand Forks on Wednesday. According to a team source who spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing had officially been announced yet, true freshman John Siemer of Baldwin Park, California could make his debut with NMU on Saturday against UND after being ineligible the first half of the season.

Siemer last played for the Coquitlam Express and Penticton Vees of the BCHL during the 2012-13 season, totaling nine goals and 29 assists during the regular season. He had three goals and seven assists in 15 playoff games for the Vees.

NMU’s other late arrival for 2013-14, true freshman Gerard Hansen, isn’t expected to join the team until the Jan. 3-4 series at Bemidji.