Northern Michigan's Griffin Loughran Seizing Opportunity

The loss of key contributors left the Northern Michigan offense in limbo ahead of the 2019-20 season, but the youth has taken full advantage of the increased opportunity — and now the offense flows through Griffin Loughran.

The 20-year-old leads the nation with nine goals, while his 15 points are good enough for third among national scoring leaders. The sophomore has already eclipsed his rookie goal total and is just three points shy from his 15-point campaign last season.

Loughran’s development since the end of last season has made the difference for a team that lost three of its top four scorers from 2018-19, a trio that accounted for nearly 50 percent of the team’s total goals scored last season (50/104).

The Wildcats’ 6-2-2 record is their best mark through the first 10 games of a season since 2014-15, and the diminutive forward is making sure the team leaves no points on the table ahead of its trendy winter semester pushes.

Even in the small, fast game of collegiate hockey, Loughran’s 5-foot-6, 145-pound frame (via Elite Prospects) is still considered small. Even if he’s not racking up the points on a given night, he’s still filling up the scoresheet with an agitating persona, one that dates back ahead of his days in Marquette.

“Aggravate as many people as possible and put the puck in the net,” Loughran told Chris Murphy of Inforum.com back in May of 2018. “That's really my go-to.”

The comment came just days before Loughran’s Fargo Force was set to take on Youngstown for the USHL’s Clark Cup. The Force would claim the three-game series, in which Loughran recorded three goals and an assist, in addition to four penalty minutes that would bring him up to 122 total through all 63 games played that season.

On the outside, he’s a liability, but a closer look shows he knows just what it takes to truly agitate his opponents. It’s why he recorded a team-leading 72 PIM as a rookie with the Wildcats, 26 more than his next-highest teammate.

This year, Loughran is adding more of an offensive side to go along with his offensive side, and beating opponents on the scoresheet is just as frustrating as beating them with a quip.

As one of coach Grant Potulny’s first recruits, Loughran’s development is another signal that the bench boss is taking the program in the right direction. In his third season behind the bench, Potulny is eyeing a third consecutive 20-win season, with Loughran and fellow recruits are leading the way.


Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.

Ryan Sandelin Celebrates Family Thanksgiving As Mavericks Top Bulldogs

For Minnesota State freshman Ryan Sandelin, playing Division I hockey is a game of musical chairs. 

North Dakota Is Back: No. 3 Fighting Hawks' Unbeaten Streak Hits 11

After a two-year hiatus at the NCAA Tournament, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks are showing they’re ready to start a new postseason streak.

WCHA Conference Powers Minnesota State & Bowling Green Make Statements

This past weekend was a show of force by the WCHA’s iron, a pair of two-game sweeps by league heavyweights Minnesota State and Bowling Green over national contenders.

Atlantic Hockey Watch Guide: Week Of December 2

Check out college hockey action in the Atlantic Hockey conference in the week of December 2.

WCHA Watch Guide: Week Of December 2

Check out college hockey action in the WCHA in the week of December 2.

Niagara Freshman Ryan Naumovski Sparks The Purple Eagles

On Nov. 16, the Niagara Purple Eagles defeated Canisius 5-3 for their first win of the season, and freshman Ryan Naumovski was in the middle of it all.

Boston University's Farrance Is The Latest Nashville Predators Discovery

David Farrance is breaking out on the backend for Boston University and is another testament to the Nashville Predators’ ability to find hidden defensive gems.

Air Force Offense Takes Flight As Falcons Climb Atlantic Hockey Standings

Following a seven-game losing streak to start the season, the Air Force Falcons’ offense has come to life during a five-game undefeated streak.

WCHA RinkRap: Michigan Tech Turns Season Around With UP Sweeps

In this Thanksgiving edition of RinkRap, Michigan Tech’s sophomore class leads a team turnaround, new names help Ferris State upset Alaska, and a familiar face returns to Mankato.

WCHA Watch Guide: Week Of November 25

Check out college hockey action in the WCHA in the week of November 25.