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College Hockey:
Weekend work-up, Feb. 26, 2012: Bulldogs, Falcons and first-round matches

Congratulations to Ferris State, your 2011-12 CCHA regular-season champions. This is the second title for the Bulldogs, who last won in 2002-03. Should this team go as far as it is capable of going, the Bulldogs may someday become icons of the kind of league that once upon a time existed in college hockey.

So, interesting weekend. Three things learned:

1. When it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. All Ferris State needed from this weekend to secure the title was either one single point or a Michigan loss. As it turns out, the Bulldogs got all they needed on the same night when they tied Western Michigan Friday and Bowling Green won. On Saturday, FSU suffered its first loss since Dec. 30, 2011, and in delivering a 3-0 shutout, WMU exposed the Bulldogs’ biggest weakness, offense. Only time and games played will tell how much of a liability that will prove for FSU.

2. Never underestimate the Bowling Green Falcons. With third-period goals by Adam Berkle and Bryce Williamson, the Falcons came from behind to beat visiting Michigan to break a four-game losing streak and guarantee that the Wolverines would have no share of this year’s regular-season title. I know that they’re traveling to Marquette to face an NMU team that’s lost just two at home, and the idea of the Falcons putting together back-to-back wins is a stretch, but they should not be taken lightly.

3. The Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish are meeting in South Bend … in the first round? Sure, the media had Ohio State pegged for No. 9 in its preseason poll, but OSU was in first place in December — and weren’t the Irish picked first in both the preseason and coaches polls? At the beginning of the season, ND coach Jeff Jackson warned us that the Irish were being overestimated defensively, and the No. 27 ND defense has proved him right. Bowling Green will play Northern Michigan and Alaska travels to Lake Superior to complete the first-round matches, and the only team from the first round that looks like a lock to me is Northern Michigan — in spite of BGSU’s tenacity.

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  • Alex

    Ferris played a really weak second half schedule. I see them washing out early in the playoffs.

    • Bigdawg

      Weak as in top-20 teams, Colgate, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Western Michigan in the toughest conference in college hockey…..
      Alex, get your facts straight sport.

      • Darb0114

        To back your point, the CCHA also has the most teams in the current National Bracket.

      • Jason

        I think you forgot the word “second” in front of toughest, easy mistake so no worries. Also, I think you mean top-20 teams who are over-rated, which is another easy mistake so I wouldn’t dwell on it.

  • KAW

    If I were a top-3 team (and I am cheering for the Broncos), I would not want to face any of the first-round winners. I certainly wouldn’t take them lightly. I love this league, especially this year.

  • Michael

    Ferris was also playing without 3 regular forwards with a combined 63 points and had 3 guys in their place who have all dressed in fewer than 20 games this year and have a combined 4 points. Even if Nelson had been in the net, I don’t think Ferris was winning that game Saturday night.

    • Darb0114

      I couldn’t agree more. Replacing a 63 point force with a 4 point force will affect the outcome dramatically. It is best they rest players and prepare for the postseason. 

  • PDT

    Bowling Green upset Northern in the first round last year. Don’t think that series is a lock either way. It’s going to be a battle.

  • Chiefmarquette

    I think NMU needs to take BGSU seriously. But the face that the falcons beat them lost year i think makes it easier for NMU to win they will have revenge on their minds. Should be interesting

  • Swoop12

    Connor Knapp= Goalie of the Year

    • Fox5 2

      Connor Knapp-Goalie of the Year?Shouldn’t goalie of the year,Have more then 20 games played?Come on now.We should put Cal Heeter in the running if that’s the case.

  • ChoochMcGoo

    Ohio State is still a LAUGHABLE hockey program.  They don’t deserve to sniff the NCAA’s this year.
    Good luck in the B1G Hockey league when you replace teams like Northern Michigan and Bowling Green with Wisconsin and Minnessota.  You are staring down the barrell of a 10 win season.

    • Yooper

      Are you suggesting that NMU and BGSU are cupcakes and when OSU joins a league with B10′s they will have a much tougher time?  You’re joking right!
       I know BGSU hasn’t faired well lately, but NMU has always been tough.  OSU did well against NMU this year, but that’s only this year.  I’ll tell you what’s going to happen when the B10 league forms – THERE IS GOING TO BE FEWER of them going to the big dance.  NMU has never been intimidated by any B10 team.  They’ve played MSU four times this year, UM four times, WI twice, OSU twice, as well as Notre Dame, and they have a pretty good record to show for it.
      There are no slouches in the current CCHA or WCHA —-so knock off the elitism.

  • fcc56

    “[T]he Bulldogs’ biggest weakness, offense. Only time and games played will tell how much of a liability that will prove. . .”.

    Can’t imagine that could be much of a liability in a conference tournament or the NCAAs. Well, unless you need to score to win. :)

    I don’t really have an opinion about this team; this just seems like a remarkable statement (not in a good way) regarding a team that is regarded in some quarters as a possible national champion.

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