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College Hockey:
Weekend work-up, Jan. 28, 2013: Keeping the deck shuffled

What a weekend.

1. If you don’t like the CCHA standings, stick around for a week because they’re sure to change. At the end of the first half of the season, I was worried that the CCHA may fall into its old trap of becoming a two-tier league with a handful of teams huddled together at the top of the standings and a big drop-off after Nos. 4 and 5. With eight points separating first-place Western Michigan and sixth-place Ohio State, I don’t think that’s a possibility. At the start of the 2012-13 season, I was hoping that the final regular-season CCHA title would come down to the final regular-season CCHA game. Given the standings shuffle of January and the remaining CCHA schedule, I think I may get my wish.

2. Taking care of business means a new No. 1. While Notre Dame was able to break its five-game free fall with a 5-2 win over Ferris State Saturday night, a single win this weekend wasn’t enough to keep the Irish in first place. In fact, a single win wasn’t enough for second place. While Notre Dame was splitting with Ferris State, Western Michigan swept Michigan and Miami beat Bowling Green twice. That gives WMU the top spot with 39 points, Miami the second with 38 and Notre Dame takes third place with 36. It is impressive that the Irish held onto first place for as long as they did through that five-game losing streak, a feat that illustrates just how difficult it is for everyone to earn points in this league.

3. Who’s the hottest team in the league right now? The Nanooks, of course. With two home wins over Northern Michigan, the Nanooks completed their third consecutive sweep of the new year, putting them into a two-way tie for fourth place with Ferris State. Freshman goaltender John Keeney has been in net for all six of those games. He allowed just three goals against the Wildcats.

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