It will be an all-Upper Peninsula final — complete with Sault Ste. Marie accent — when the Northern Michigan Wildcats play host to the Michigan Tech Huskies in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship game.
The title tilt is slated for this Saturday at 7 p.m. and FOX-UP will televise the match from the Berry Events Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
Hockeytown Sault Ste. Marie will be prominent in the one-game showdown, the winner of which gets an automatic bid into the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship tournament.
For starters, Michigan Tech is coached by Michigan Soo native Joe Shawhan, who also played for and coached, both the Lake Superior State Lakers and the Soo Indians juniors.
In his first term as head coach at Michigan Tech after several years as a WCHA assistant, Shawhan guided the Huskies to a fifth-place finish in the regular season with a so-so record of 12-11-5.
But Shawhan was then able to lead no. 5 seed Michigan Tech past no. 1 seed Minnesota State in a stunning semi-final upset, capped by a 2-1 overtime victory.
Shawhan is not the only Soo link to the Huskies of Michigan Tech.
The Huskies also feature sophomore forward Raymond Brice, formerly of the Soo Eagles juniors. A Houghton native, Brice scored four goals for the Huskies during the regular season.
Meanwhile, no. 2 seed Northern Michigan also features a pair of former Soo Eagles forwards in senior Robbie Payne and junior Denver Pierce.
Payne, who hails from Gaylord, scored 24 goals during the regular season while Michigan Soo product Pierce potted 13.
PHOTO: Michigan Tech Huskies coach Joe Shawhan.