After the first full weekend of CCHA play — minus Western Michigan — there are indications that it may be a long season. That’s a good thing, given that it’s the last.
1. Six teams in third place after one weekend? Okay. That seems completely normal, given how many teams crowd a single spot in the CCHA standings at the end of the season and how few points separate the middle-packers when it’s all over. Yes, it’s too early to make any claims about, well, anything — but the fact that three series split in the opening weekend is probably an indication of how this season will continue. I find that encouraging — frustrating to pick, but an early indication that we’re in for another excellent season of league hockey.
2. Off to the races? Maybe. Three teams — Ferris State, Michigan, Notre Dame — netted seven or more goals in two league contests this past weekend, but two of them are averaging more than three goals per contest for the entire young season so far. Michigan has the third-best scoring offense in the country (4.80) with senior A.J. Treais and sophomore Alex Guptill accounting for nine of the team’s 24 overall goals; Treais has five goals in five games. Ferris State has the 10th-best scoring offense nationally (3.50). Senior Kyle Bonis has four goals in six games, junior Andy Huff has three in six — one fewer than he had in 30 last season — and a dozen Bulldogs have registered at least a goal.
3. Will every point count? Definitely. Six of the 10 games this weekend were decided by a goal or less, and that one “less” — Bowling Green’s tie and shootout point against Ohio State — may be a very big deal for both teams in the end. Just as they did last season, the Falcons took points in the opening weekend of CCHA play; last year, though, after beginning the season with a win over Lake Superior State, the Falcons took only four more points in league action in the first half and didn’t have another conference win until January. And it’s hard to imagine a tougher loss than FSU’s to Alaska Saturday, 3-2, with freshman Tyler Morley netting the game-winning goal for the Nanooks at 19:10 in the third, three points that may haunt the Bulldogs in March.