Welcome to the CCHA, a.k.a. Splitsville.
Everyone split points this weekend in the CCHA, although not everyone did so evenly. In three series, teams split wins and losses. One series produced two tied games, and another a split and a tie.
When the closest thing to a sweep in a given league weekend is the same team “winning” the shootout on two consecutive nights, parity isn’t something that can be questions.
Bowling Green at Lake Superior. Each of these games ended in a 1-1 tie, with the Lakers taking the extra point each night. In each game, BG led after scoring in the second period. In each game, the Lakers tied it in the third. Four different guys scored. Nick Eno and Andrew Hammond split time in the BG net, but Kevin Kapalka made 68 saves in the two games for the Lakers.
Michigan at Ohio State. The Buckeyes beat the Wolverines in a heart-stopping overtime game Dec. 3; the Wolverines scored two third-period goals to beat the Buckeyes the following night. In Friday’s 3-2 win, OSU tied the game on a power play with goaltender Cal Heeter pulled and 11 seconds left in regulation. It should surprise no one who follows Buckeye hockey that Sergio Somma had the game-tying goal. Alex Szczechura scored the game-winning goal in OT and the only Buckeye goal in Saturday’s game. Luke Glendening and David Wohlberg scored the third-period goals Saturday for the Wolverine win. After Friday’s loss, many Wolverines “forgot” to go through the post-game handshake line.
Michigan State vs. Ferris State. These teams split outright, exchanging wins in each others’ buildings. The Spartans won, 3-2, Friday; the Bulldogs won, 1-0, in overtime Saturday. Saturday’s win marked the second time that Pat Nagle shut out the Spartans in East Lansing in 12 days, having beaten them the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Nagle impresses me more each time I see him play; I think he has NHL potential. Chad Billins had the game-winning OT goal, which went in off a Spartan’s skate. (For some reason, my MSU recaps are not showing up on a couple of USCHO pages. You can read the recap of the Dec. 4 game here.
Notre Dame at Miami. The Irish mounted a thrilling come-from-behind win Dec. 3 in Steve Cady Arena, scoring twice early in the third period to take a lead, then scoring the game-winning goal at 17:24, less than a minute after the RedHawks tied the game again. T.J. Tynan had the game-winner in Friday’s 5-4 win. The following night, Miami schooled Notre Dame, registering three goals within four minutes in the middle of the second period en route to a 5-2 win. Alden Hirschfeld had a hat trick in that contest.
Western Michigan at Northern Michigan. The Wildcats won Friday’s game outright, 3-1, while the teams tied, 4-4, the following night with the Broncos earning the extra shootout point. The Wildcats scored all three of their goals in the win in the first period; Reid Ellingson played both games for NMU, making 55 saves in the series. For the Broncos, Nick Pisellini started Friday but was pulled in favor of Jerry Kuhn at 2:53 in the first, after giving up two goals. On Saturday, Kuhn started but was pulled at the 29-second mark in the second, after giving up his fourth goal of the night. Pisellini finished that game, but Kuhn – who the Broncos think is the better goalie against the breakaway – came back in for the shootout and prevailed for WMU. Bronco captain Ian Slater earned two game disqualifications in Saturday’s game, the first for fighting and the second for facemasking. NMU’s Andrew Fernandez also earned a DQ for facemasking. Apparently, they ripped each other’s helmets off.
Because of the exchange of points, there was only a little movement in the league standings. Miami, Notre Dame and Michigan are still Nos. 1, 2 and 3, with two points still separating first from third place. Both the Irish and the Wolverines have two games in hand on the RedHawks.
Now there is a three-way tie for fourth between Alaska, Northern and Ferris, and each team has 20 points. Both the Nanooks and the Wildcats have a game in hand on the Bulldogs.
Now Western and Lake are tied with 14 points each after the fourth-place cluster, and the Broncos have two games in hand on the Lakers.
The bottom three are the same as they were last week: No. 9 Ohio State (11 points); No. 10 Michigan State (10); No. 11 Bowling Green (8).
It wasn’t pretty. I went 2-5-3, having picked ND-Miami and FSU-MSU to split but on opposite nights.
So thank you, Buckeyes.