I’m grateful that league play has begun. Too many games to pick these past two weeks — and too little sleep.
Last week: 11-6-4
Season to date: 23-13-8 (.614)
This is the first full weekend CCHA-on-CCHA action. Every series is Friday-Saturday, every series is single-site and games start at 7:05 p.m. local time, unless otherwise noted. Western Michigan sits this one out.
Alaska at No. 18 Ferris State. Last weekend, the Nanooks beat Merrimack and North Dakota to take the Brice Goal Rush title at home, backstopped by senior Steve Thompson, whose .945 save percentage may have played him into a starting position. The Bulldogs put up 10 goals against visiting Mercyhurst with a 7-3 win and 3-3 tie, with three different goalies playing in the win but sophomore C.J. Motte playing the full 65 minutes in OT Saturday. Alaska is 10-4-3 against FSU in the last 17 contests. The teams split a pair of close games in Fairbanks last season. FSU 4-2, UA 3-2
Ohio State at Bowling Green. The Buckeyes tied and lost to Quinnipiac on the road last weekend with sophomore Matt Johnson knotting the first game in the third period for OSU. The Falcons split a pair of road game with Colgate. Senior goaltender Andrew Hammond was injured very early in the win, which went to his replacement, freshman Andrew Burke, who posted a two-day save percentage of .904 against Colgate. Hammond is day-to-day with an elbow injury. The last time the Falcons beat the Buckeyes in BG was January 2006. BGSU 3-2, OSU 3-2
Michigan State at Lake Superior State. Last weekend, the Spartans defeated and tied visiting Niagara, outscoring the Purple Eagles 6-5 in two games. MSU was down 2-0 at the start of the third in each game, with six different Spartans scoring third-period goals in the weekend. The Lakers split a pair of road games against Bemidji State. Junior Kevin Kapalka earned his seventh career shutout in Friday’s 2-0 tie, but LSSU was blanked 5-0 the following night. The Lakers swept the Spartans a year ago in Sault Ste. Marie. Friday’s game begins at 7:35 p.m. LSSU 3-2, 3-1
No. 3 Miami at No. 6 Michigan. This series pits two top-ten teams with new goaltending — and continues what has become one of the CCHA’s fiercest rivalries. The RedHawks tied and defeated Providence on the road last weekend with freshmen Ryan McKay and Jay Williams each getting a game. The Wolverines won their single game versus Bentley with freshman Steve Racine in net. Junior A.J. Treais and sophomore Alex Guptill each had two goals in the 6-3 win. Michigan swept Miami last year in Yost Ice Arena, where the Wolverines are 45-5-1 all-time against the RedHawks. Games both nights begin at 7:35 p.m. UM 4-2, Miami 4-2
No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 16 Northern Michigan. The Fighting Irish split a pair of home games with Minnesota-Duluth last week, losing Thursday and winning Friday. Through their first four games, the Irish have scored nine goals by eight different players. Northern Michigan split last weekend on the road against Nebraska-Omaha. Senior Matt Thurber rides a four-game point streak (1-4–5) into this weekend. Last year, these teams tied twice in Marquette, with the Wildcats earning the extra shootout point in each contest. This should be a great series. Each team is 3-1-0, with each team having lost in the first game of a two-game series. Games both nights begin at 7:35 p.m. NMU 3-2, ND 3-2