What a difference a week can make.
1. Upper Peninsula — represent! After a dismal showing in midseason tournaments, the CCHA rebounded with a 6-0-2 record against nonconference opponents last weekend, led by the two league U.P. teams, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State. The unranked Wildcats and Lakers each dispatched ranked opponents, with NMU beating St. Cloud State 6-2 and LSSU defeating Union 4-1 and 3-1. Even more impressive for Northern is that the sweep included NMU’s second and third road wins of the season while providing the most NMU goals in a weekend since early November. For the Lakers, the Two Kevins — Murdock and Kapalka — continued to vex opponents in net.
In the Bowling Green’s 3-2 win over Canisius, freshman Tommy Burke earned his second win with 32 saves. In Western Michigan’s 6-0 win over Bemidji State, sophomore Frank Slubowski earned his third shutout of the season — sixth of his career — while the impressive WMU defense allowed only 15 shots.
And while visiting the WCHA, neither Walt Kyle nor Andy Murray complained of home cooking. Thank you, gentlemen.
2. Garrett Thompson — represent! The junior forward from Ferris State scored all three of the Bulldogs’ goals against visiting Michigan State: one power-play goal, one even-strength goal and the empty netter to cap the game. It was the first hat trick in Thompson’s career and amounts to two-thirds of his goal total this season and nearly a quarter of what he scored last year. In the game, sophomore C.J. Motte made 23 saves in his third shutout of the season, fifth of his career.
3. Michigan defense,
repres … um, Michigan defense? Wolverines? Anyone home? In a 5-3 exhibition loss to the U.S. Under-18 Team, the Wolverines allowed 37 shots on goal, proving once again that the problem with this team is more than just between the pipes. Freshman Jared Rutledge made 32 saves in the effort. Yes, Michigan was without defensemen Jacob Trouba and Jon Merrill, but a team is more than the sum of just two blueliners.