This was a strange weekend. Three things that strike me as interesting about it:
1. The number of times you shoot the puck may count for something. In Ohio State’s sweep of Northern Michigan, the Buckeyes outshot the Wildcats 77-34 and allowed only 12 shots on goal during Saturday’s 4-2 win. Alabama-Huntsville notched its first win of the season, 2-1, against Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie Friday night, outshooting the Lakers 35-20. In their 6-1 Friday win over the Broncos, the Nanooks outshot Western Michigan 32-17. Not every winner in the CCHA out-gunned opponents by a lopsided margin, but the Buckeyes, Chargers and Nanooks were underdogs in those series.
2. Six points is a lot. The Buckeyes doubled their CCHA point total with their sweep of the Wildcats, jumping from a tie for ninth place last week — one position out of the CCHA cellar — to their current solo spot in fifth. Two other teams, Notre Dame and Ferris State, also swept their opponents. They were tied for third last week with Lake Superior State and Michigan State, but this week share the second-place spot with 15 points each and a little — a very little — distance now between themselves and third-place Alaska. These sweeps early in the season will be significant later if the season continues to be one in which teams split points in nearly every series.
3. The Wolverines have developed an ability to self-destruct in third period. This is an interesting thing to me because Michigan is still the only CCHA team to be among the top 10 scoring teams in the country and because the 2011-12 Wolverines were sitting near the bottom of the CCHA standings at midseason and still made the national tournament. While the Wolverines didn’t start well against the Spartans in their Nov. 10 game, UM lost any chance of recovery in that game when MSU scored two goals before the midway mark of the third. In the third period Thursday night against the Irish with the score tied 1-1, the Wolverines made two mistakes that led to ND goals late in the stanza. In Friday’s 4-1 ND win, the score was tied 1-1 going into the third — again — and the Irish turned up the heat, scoring three goals in the last nine minutes of the game.