Thank goodness it’s November.
With ten points, No. 8 Notre Dame sits atop the CCHA waiting for everyone else to catch them. The Irish were idle last week, and head out East this weekend for single games against Boston College and Northeastern.
No. 9 Michigan and Ferris State are tied for second with eight points each. The Wolverines beat Bowling Green 5-2 and lost to Northern Michigan 6-1, while the Bulldogs swept Alaska-Fairbanks 5-2, 8-2. This week, the Wolverines are idle, and the Bulldogs host Mankato State for two.
No. 5 Michigan State and No. 6 Northern Michigan are tied for fourth in the league with six points each. Last week, the undefeated Spartans beat the Wildcats 3-1. After dropping the game to Michigan State, Northern Michigan beat Michigan in Yost.
This week, Michigan State hosts Ohio State and Lake Superior State, while the Wildcats host Bowling Green for two.
In sole possession of sixth place with five points, the Falcons lost to Michigan 5-2 last weekend, and try their luck in Marquette this week.
The Miami Fledglings–er, RedHawks–picked up their first league points of the season with a 3-3 tie and a 7-4 win against Western Michigan. The ‘Hawks travel to Alaska to meet the Nanooks for two games.
Tied with Miami in points are the Broncos, who host Lake Superior on Friday, and Ohio State on Saturday.
The Buckeyes return to CCHA play after losing 6-3 to Niagara last weekend. Ohio State will try to rev it up against Michigan State on Friday, and Western Michigan on Saturday.
Alaska-Fairbanks and Lake Superior are looking for their first league points of the season. The Nanooks dropped two to Ferris State last weekend, and host Miami this week. The Lakers were idle last week, and travel to Lawson and Munn this weekend.
Last week’s record in picks: 6-2 Overall record in picks: 25-10
Ohio State (1-5-1, 1-2-1 CCHA) at No. 5 Michigan State (3-0-2, 2-0-2 CCHA) Friday, 7 p.m., Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, MI Lake Superior (0-6-0, 0-4-0 CCHA) at No. 5 Michigan State (3-0-2, 2-0-2 CCHA) Saturday, 7 p.m., Munn Ice Arena
"It was the kind of game that we need to be televised in this league. It was a great, great college hockey game."
That was Spartan head coach Ron Mason’s take on the 3-1 Michigan State win over Northern Michigan last Friday night in Munn.
And isn’t that the way any game between two of the best teams in the nation should be?
While everyone in this league is oooh-ing and aaah-ing about Notre Dame, the Spartans have remained quietly undefeated through five games, and the Wildcats have lost only to the Spartans.
In last week’s premier match, Northern opened the scoring just 57 seconds into the game, and it took Michigan State another period and a half to answer. The game was tied 1-1 until Shawn Horcoff scored the game-winner at 16:26 in the third.
Damon Whitten put the game away for the Spartans about a minute later.
"The game had unbelievable speed," says Mason. "It was a great. And they were coming in with better credentials than us."
Joe Blackburn had 17 saves for the Spartans, while Duane Hoey had 24 for the Wildcats. Only Michigan State’s first goal (scored by Rustyn Dolyny) was on the power play.
"It was a team effort on both sides," says Mason.
Mason has been quick to point out that when the Spartans win this season, it will be a win by committee. The incredible Mike York aside (if you can, for a moment, put him aside), the Spartans are a hard-working, hard-grinding, balanced team that needs to perform from top to bottom to win.
Mason isn’t kidding when he says he wants to see his team generate 30 to 40 shots per night; the Spartan style is evolving this season from defensive near-domination to offensive with a tight defense.
This means production from many players–and that’s exactly what the Spartans have had thus far. Dolyny’s opening goal against Northern Michigan marked the first time someone other than a rookie scored the first goal in any Spartan game this season. And six different Spartans have four or more points so far.
The most impressive thing about this team is that it’s nowhere near peaking, which is great news for Spartans everywhere, and bad news for league opponents.
Ohio State vs. Michigan State
This game marks the second meeting between these two clubs in three weeks, and the Spartans and Buckeyes will meet for the last time in regular-season play in Ohio State’s home opener next week in the OSU Ice Rink.
"I think that’s too bad," says Mason, "because as coaches we want to play a team in the first and second half. Here it is November, and we’re done with Ohio State."
It’s too bad for college hockey fans as well, since these two teams play each other very well. The Spartans and Buckeyes are 1-1-1 in their last three meetings–all overtime games. Two weeks ago, the Buckeyes came back from behind to grab a point with a 4-4 overtime tie in Munn.
And while the Spartans lead this series overall 63-11-5, four of the last six games between MSU and OSU have been decided by just one goal.
And the Buckeyes–Michigan State’s toughest current CCHA rival–are the only league team against which the Spartans currently do not have a winning streak of more than two games (Michigan State being 0-1-1 against Ohio State in their last two meetings).
And another thing: Ohio State is the only team to have scored more than one goal against sophomore Spartan goaltender Joe Blackburn so far this season.
All of this should add up to a really exciting game…if Ohio State shows up, that is.
"What certain guys can bring to the table, they’re not bringing it to the table," says Buckeye head coach John Markell.
"Obviously, we’re not getting a lot of offense from a lot of guys. The main thing is the second effort is just not there. We’re not playing with any intensity, and we seem to have a lack of respect for our opponents."
In spite of scoring three goals from three different lines last week in the 6-3 loss to Niagara, Ohio State looked poor defensively, and goaltender Jeff Maund got very little help. Maund faced–and let in–two breakaway chances in the last two minutes of the game, when the Bucks trailed by just one goal.
"I think some of our players can play even better," says Markell. "I could be five-and-oh right now and I still wouldn’t be happy.
"They have to have that fire in their belly. That’s what we had last year, and that’s what we’re lacking now."
This weekend marks the last two games of Ohio State’s nine-game road stint, a concession to the delayed opening of the Schottenstein Center–which now isn’t going to open for hockey until January anyway.
The Buckeyes have also been playing without Eric Meloche, whose bruised collarbone has had him sidelined since the opening day of the season. Without him, All-American Hugo Boisvert and linemate J.F. Dufour have seemed lost.
Markell says that Meloche provides an emotional spark that his team is otherwise missing.
"Everything we’re trying to get our guys to do, Eric does," says Markell. "He goes to the net hard, he skates, he hits, he plays with intensity.
"Is he going to the win the game? No, but if the guys around him have to play better to play with him, that will lift our game."
Meloche is day-to-day, and Markell says that his return may not be possible until the Buckeyes play their first home game of the season in the OSU War Memorial on Nov. 13.
Also day to day is Mike McCormick, a very talented rookie forward who has likewise been injured since the start of the season.
Markell says that the hurts have wreaked havoc on his lineups, and the resulting discord has contributed to the lack of team unity. The coach says he’ll continue to work players onto lines until he finds the right combinations.
In spite of the injuries, the long road trip, and the lack of overall spirit, the Buckeyes played their best game of the season against Michigan State two weeks ago, showing poise in their third-period comeback.
These are two teams that play each other well.
"I think they understand it’s a tough series with us, and we understand that too," says Markell. "You have to play 60 minutes against each team–most of the time, 65 minutes."
There are too many question marks to even list for the Buckeyes right now–defense, lack of scoring opportunities, not finishing generated chances, allowing way too many shots on goal–but this is still a must-see game.
Lake Superior vs. Michigan State
The Lakers were idle last weekend, after losing to New Hampshire and Providence the week before.
Head Coach Scott Borek thinks the week off was a good thing for his struggling, young team.
"This gave us the opportunity to re-gather ourselves," says Borek. "We come out of it a little healthier than when we went into."
Junior forward Ben Keup and rookie winger Jason Nightengale should be back for this weekend’s games, though sophomore forward Mike Vigilante remains injured.
"The trip out East was a difficult one," says Borek. "It was a bad trip because I think we didn’t play well Saturday night. We didn’t compete well. It was a difficult game. We learned a little about ourselves."
The Saturday game was the 7-2 loss to Providence.
"I think our guys are well aware that we’re not playing up to our potential."
Borek isn’t one to pull punches. When asked if he can single out anyone on his team who’s playing well, he says, "No. We haven’t had anyone look particularly good for us recently."
The 0-6-0 Lakers are being outscored 26-10, and while both Jayme Platt and Rob Galatiuk have respectable GAAs in league play, neither has emerged as the starter. In fact, Borek says that he’ll be working junior netminder Mike Brusseau into a game or two.
"I think we’re clearly at the point where we’re considering all three," says Borek. "In the long term that can be good–since each will have experience–but right now it’s a big concern."
In spite of Lake Superior’s lack of production so far this season, Mason says he’s taking the Lakers very seriously. "Every team that plays against Michigan State plays its best game."
Michigan State leads this series 40-27-8, and holds a 21-11-2 edge in Munn. The Spartans are undefeated against the Lakers in their last six meetings (4-0-2). Last season, Michigan State clinched the regular-season CCHA title with a 4-1 win over the Lakers in the Soo on March 6.
Twice last season, the Spartans had to come from behind in the third period to beat the Lakers in Munn, winning 4-3 in January and 4-2 in February.
"When we do the little things right," says John Markell, "we’re an effective hockey club. Right now we’re not doing that."
Beyond not doing the little things right, the Buckeyes are currently not doing the big things right. They’re not generating offense, not protecting their net, not playing with the intensity and unity that helped carry them to the Final Four last year.
This one will be fun to watch, but it’s doubtful the Buckeyes have it in them to even pull out the point they earned two weeks ago.
Scott Borek says of the Laker-Spartan game, "That’s not going to be a difficult game to get up for. I think we’ll be ready for them mentally. It’s always tough to go to Munn, but it’s a great building. It’ll be a nice to play in a place with that kind of atmosphere."
While the Lakers need their first CCHA points, they’re not going to get them in Munn.
Friday, Nov. 6, is Spartan Rustyn Dolyny’s birthday. Be sure to wish him Happy Birthday if you see him in Munn during the Ohio State game. He won’t be playing because of a game disqualification he earned against Northern Michigan last week.
Michigan State over Ohio State 4-3; Michigan State over Lake Superior State 5-1
Lake Superior (0-6-0, 0-4-0 CCHA) at Western Michigan (1-3-2, 1-3-2 CCHA) Friday, 7 p.m., Lawson Arena, Kalamazoo, MI Ohio State (1-5-1, 1-2-1 CCHA) at Western Michigan (1-3-2, 1-3-2 CCHA) Saturday, 7 p.m., Lawson Arena
"There are no easy weekends, there are no easy games," says Western Michigan head coach Bill Wilkinson.
The Broncos tied Miami 3-3 and lost 7-4 in Goggin Ice Arena last weekend. Wilkinson says that he hopes that his team can "just get a win" out of this weekend. "In Miami, we had a chance to win, and settled for a tie. It was frustrating."
The Broncos carried a 3-1 lead into the third period of that game on goals by Daryl Andrews, Corey Waring, and David Gove. At 8:04 in the third, RedHawk rookie Jeremy Vokes scored unassisted to pull Miami to within one, and with just 1:08 to go in regulation play, Josh Harrold tied it up for the ‘Hawks.
On Saturday, junior defenseman Jason Redenius scored twice for the Broncos, but it wasn’t enough to win the game.
In fact, Redenius has more points so far than any other Bronco (3-2-5), a stat that doesn’t exactly please Wilkinson. "I’m disappointed that Jason is leading us in scoring. Other kids are playing well, but not putting the points up."
Wilkinson said that Andrews (1-3-4), Matt Addesa (2-1-3), and Chuck Mindel (2-1-3) are all contributing, but he’d like to see more goal production from somewhere other than the blue line.
Another problem for the Broncos is the ever-changing lineup. Although the team is finished with its raft of one-game suspensions, Wilkinson is still looking for line combinations that work.
"We’ve got lots of people in and out, out and about."
The one truly stellar spot for the Broncos is Matt Barnes. Through five games, the senior goaltender is posting a .901 save percentage. "He played solid again in Miami," says Wilkinson, "even though he didn’t get a lot of help from our defense.
"We’re not clearing the puck in front of Barnes the way we should."
Lake Superior vs. Western Michigan
"Lake is coming off a week’s rest, and they haven’t got a win yet," says Wilkinson. "I’m sure they want to put all of their eggs in one basket."
The Lakers lead this series overall 53-29-9, and took two of three games from the Broncos last season. But the Lakers are struggling this season, and are still without a win for six games.
Jeff Cheeseman (2-3-5) and Tobin Praznik (2-2-4) are the only Lakers with more than one goal, and Borek isn’t happy with anyone he’s seen in net.
In addition to the on-ice woes, Borek is looking for someone on the team to emerge as a leader. "Clearly, even from our older players, these kids have never been in the position to be the confidence of this team."
Says Wilkinson, "A team without a win is always dangerous."
Ohio State vs. Western Michigan
"We’re not preparing for Ohio State–we’re preparing Lake," says Wilkinson. "We only have one win."
The Broncos have the 51-42-7 edge in the all-time series against the Buckeyes, 27-16-3 in Lawson. But Ohio State holds a 3-1-1 advantage in the last five meetings between the teams.
Like the Broncos, the Buckeyes are struggling for on-ice consistency, and to find the right line combinations. "I haven’t really established the lineup," says OSU head man John Markell.
Plagued by injuries and battered by this long road trip, Markell says that he’s looking forward to coming home in a week, but is not too disappointed with where his team is right now.
"We’re 1-2-1 in the league, and all on the road. We’re two points behind where I’d thought we’d be right now. Our goal has been to finish in the top three in the league, and we can do that."
Markell does concede, however, that Ohio State needs to improve soon if the Buckeyes hope to compete for home ice in the playoffs. "We’re running out of games to turn this thing around."
Markell says that his team is not looking past Friday’s game against Michigan State to Saturday, but that the Buckeyes are preparing as equally as they can for both teams. "We’re well aware of Western Michigan, that Barnes is playing well and that the defense is tight."
Four Buckeyes have six points in six games for the Buckeyes, which is both good and bad news. The good news is that sophomore Vinnie Grant and senior Brandon Lafrance each have six points–and for Lafrance, that equals his total offensive output in 25 games last season.
The bad news is that Hugo Boisvert (last year’s CCHA league scoring champ) and Chris Richards (who finished third in league scoring last season) are averaging just a point a game. One of these guys has to get hot for the Buckeyes to win.
Boisvert is playing without longtime linemate Eric Meloche, who remains day-to-day with a bruised collarbone.
Richards and linemate Dan Cousineau (who is playing solid hockey) are still looking for a permanent replacement for Todd Compeau.
In net, Jeff Maund remains the starter for Ohio State, posting a league GAA of .913.
"Western’s always a major challenge," says Borek, "particularly in their own building. They force you to play very, very hard–or you’re going to lose. And also you’re probably going to get beat up."
Markell says, "I’m not worried about where we stand in the nation. We’re a better team when we’re down, when nobody respects us."
The Lakers don’t have the right combination yet to get by Matt Barnes. The Buckeyes have all the right tools–but they don’t respect themselves yet this season. Until they do, it’s foolish to pick them to win.
If the Broncos pick up points this weekend, they’ll do so without junior winger Brett Mills, who has reinjured his shoulder.
Western Michigan over Lake Superior 3-2; Western Michigan over Ohio State 2-1
Bowling Green (3-3-1, 2-2-1 CCHA) at No. 6 Northern Michigan (7-1-0, 3-1-0 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Lakeview Arena, Marquette, MI
The Falcons lost 5-2 to Michigan last weekend, and assistant coach Brian Hills says, "Our big thing last weekend was that we had to be more opportunistic."
The Falcons outshot the Wolverines 34-20, but just didn’t finish their chances, and just one of the two Bowling Green goals was full-strength.
Hills says that the Falcons continue to strive to improve, week to week, shift to shift. "Chris Bonvie’s played exceptionally well, and [rookie defenseman] Grady Moore has been an early-season surprise."
The Falcons have the makings of a very good team, with contributions from many players. A dozen different Falcons have scored goals this season, and 16 have points.
Bowling Green has outshot opponents in five of seven games this season, and the Falcons tend to win when they do so–posting a 3-1-1 record in those five games.
The big question mark for the Falcons this season is between the pipes. Sophomore goaltender Shawn Timm looked poised to be the starter when the season began, but senior Mike Savard has had something to say about that.
Timm’s league GAA is 4.22, and his league save percentage is .792. In league play, Savard’s save percentage is about .900, and he’s allowing roughly 2.72 goals per game.
The Bowling Green coaching staff is not commenting on the goaltending situation at this time.
The Wildcats are perhaps the league’s best-kept secret, playing well without attracting a whole lot of buzz. The ‘Cats split last weekend on the road, losing 3-1 to Michigan State and beating Michigan 6-1.
The weekend before the swing through lower Michigan, the Wildcats beat Clarkson twice in Potsdam.
"We’re coming home following two weekends on the road where we registered three big wins over nationally-ranked opponents," says head coach Rick Comley. "Now we have some more big games against a much-improved Bowling Green team which will be important for us as we try to improve our standing in the CCHA."
The Wildcats play solid, aggressive hockey from top to bottom. Seven different ‘Cats have at least three goals, and J.P. Vigier leads the team in goal production with five. Buddy Smith leads the team in points with four goals and eight assists.
Northern Michigan is outscoring opponents 35-17, and the Wildcats have allowed just six power-play goals on 52 attempts.
The Wildcats continue to rotate Duane Hoey and Dan Ragusett in the net. Hoey is 3-1-0, with a 2.25 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Ragusett is 4-0-0, with a 2.00 GAA and a .922 save percentage.
The Falcons lead this all-time series 22-15-3, with a 10-9-2 edge in Lakeview Arena. The ‘Cats swept the Falcons last season, and two of those games were decided in overtime.
The Wildcats have a three-game home win streak against the Falcons on the line.
"Any time you play up there," says Hills, "they play really feisty in their building. The good part about that is that it wakes you up.
"They strap it on, and you have to be ready to play."
These could be two very good games.
Northern Michigan 3-2, 4-2
Miami (2-4-2, 1-3-2 CCHA) at Alaska-Fairbanks (1-5-0, 0-4-0 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. AT, Carlson Center, Fairbanks, AK
The RedHawks tied Western Michigan 3-3 then beat the Broncos 7-4 in Goggin to mark their first league points of the season.
"We’re much better, weekend to weekend," says head coach Mark Mazzoleni. "We’ll be a pretty competitive team after Christmas.
"Until then, we just need to keep our finger in the dike, and not let that inexperience get out of hand."
Half of these fledgling Falcons are rookies or sophomore, and Mazzoleni says that adds to the fun of his job. "You can see them learning to compete at this level, and that’s exciting.
"As coaches, our corrections in practice are very direct, but positive. The kids themselves are starting to see the improvements.
"When they become rooted out there–when they become comfortable in the defensive scheme–then the offense comes."
The RedHawks are being outscored by the narrow margin of 31-27, a stat that improves weekly.
Alex Kim and Josh Mizerek lead the ‘Hawks in scoring. Andy Marsch tallied his first win against Western Friday night, and Mazzoleni says he may play the fifth-year senior goaltender again this Friday night.
"The competition [between Marsch and Ian Olsen] is good. And it’s good that we’ve found someone else who can play."
The Nanooks are still looking for their first league win of the season. Head coach Dave Laurion says that in the 8-2 and 5-2 road losses to Ferris State last weekend, "The shots were even, but their guys took advantage of opportunities and ours did not."
In spite of the slow start, Laurion remains optimistic. "I haven’t pushed the panic button. I know our team certainly wants to get some points, and get out of the bottom.
"Our guys are still working hard, they’re continuing to work well–you can’t ask for much more than that."
Jim Lawrence leads the Nanooks in point production this season, "but we haven’t given him enough support," says Laurion. Fairbanks is being outscored 28-13 so far this season.
"We’re a good skating team," says Laurion. "We’re a bit bigger and stronger, which helps us on the road and maybe hurts us a little at home.
"You know, our players thought that because we were bigger and stronger this season, that improvement was just going to happen. Now they’re finding they have to work even harder."
Laurion says that in addition to the traveling distance, the Nanooks are always trying to play two kinds of games–one for their home Olympic-size sheet, and one for road games.
"We’ve got to rebound. It’s the balancing act of going from a big sheet to a small sheet, big sheet to small sheet."
This weekend, Laurion says he’s "looking forward to our guys playing with a lot of jump.
"This Miami series is big for both schools, and it’s obviously big for us. We need to play well at home."
Ian Perkins is the go-to guy in net for the Nanooks, and Laurion describes his play as "solid."
The Nanooks are talented, but during their last few seasons they’ve struggled with on-ice unity, a team identity, and consistency in play. By midseason, they may be more together than they are now, and they may be playing at a more competitive level.
The RedHawks are a very young team, but are not without some senior leadership. And that youth is an enthusiastic youth–eager to learn and apply that learning on the ice.
"Over the last fifteen games they’ve had their way with us," says Laurion. "We’d like to stop to that bleeding."
Maybe not this weekend.
Miami 5-2, 4-2
No. 8 Notre Dame (6-1-0, 5-1-0 CCHA) at No. 1 Boston College (4-0-0, 2-0-0 Hockey East) Friday, 7 p.m., Kelley Rink, Boston, MA No. 8 Notre Dame (6-1-0, 5-1-0 CCHA) at Northeastern (2-1-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) Saturday, 7 p.m., Matthews Arena, Boston, MA
It’s the yearly battle of the Jesuits!
As has become tradition, Boston College and Notre Dame spar on the ice the night before sparring on the gridiron.
"It’s really become fun," says Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin. "The administrations of each school entertain each other the night before the football game, and the hockey game has become the entertainment.
"And a lot of our guys know a lot of their guys."
Poulin says that "as much as they [BC] have up front, they have it on defense, too."
Poulin calls the match exciting. "It’s on the road, it’s a nationally-ranked team, it’s the top team in the country."
But, Poulin adds, "You’re as good as the last game you played."
That last game was the sole Notre Dame loss two weeks ago–against Western Michigan.
"They packed it in around Matt Barnes," says Poulin, "and he’s very good. They pack it in around that guy, and they’re going to be hard to beat."
Poulin says that the two weeks off has been beneficial to the Irish, a team whose defense is still physically hurting from last season.
"We’ve been very good in practice, very sharp."
One of the sharpest points for Notre Dame’s offense early in the season was its power play. Before being stonewalled 0-11 against Ohio State and Western Michigan two weeks ago, half of Notre Dame’s 22 goals had come on the power play, and the Irish were converting at the rate of 40 percent.
Eight different Irish players have scored on the power play, led by first-line forwards Brian Urick (3 PPG), Aniket Dhadphale (2 PPG), and Ben Simon (1 PPG).
Also potentially lethal on the power play are Dan Carlson and rookie-to-watch David Inman.
The Irish are also productive in each period of play, and they’ve trailed just twice this season.
A most impressive note about the Irish is their ability to win when someone on their defense is hurt. Notre Dame has posted an 11-7-1 record in its last 18 games, in spite of missing key defenders in each of those games. Benoit Cotnoir, Tyson Fraser, and Nathan Borega have each been plagued by injuries.
The Irish continue to dominate the CCHA scoring stats, with that first line of Dhadphale, Urick, and Simon playing particularly effectively. The second Irish line of Henning, Chipchase, and Carlson is also potentially lethal.
Forrest Karr has been the man in the net for Notre Dame, and he’s looked–as his coach puts it–"steady." Karr’s overall save percentage is .922, and he’s allowing just 1.72 goals per game in overall play.
The Eagles lead this overall series 11-7-0, winning the last three games, including last year’s come-from-behind 3-2 win in South Bend.
BC is outshooting its opponents 142-99 this season, which could be a challenge for Karr, who has not yet been seriously tested this season. The Irish have been playing stingy defense; in Karr’s shutout against Ohio State, he faced just 15 shots.
Northeastern and Notre Dame have met just twice before. The Irish won 4-1 way back in the 1970-71 season, while Northeastern rallied from a third-period deficit to beat Notre Dame in last season’s Mariucci Classic.
It’s hard to say how Notre Dame will play against Northeastern, but it may be fairly easy to call the way in which BC will play Notre Dame.
For more on Boston College and Northeastern, read Dave Hendrickson’s Hockey East preview.
BC over Notre Dame 5-2; Notre Dame over Northeastern 3-2
MSU-Mankato (5-1-0) at Ferris State (4-2-0, 4-2-0 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Ewigleben Arena, Big Rapids, MI
Ferris State is coming off a very good weekend, having beaten Alaska-Fairbanks 8-2 and 5-2.
Five different Bulldogs scored a goal in the 5-2 win, and six different Bulldogs scored in the 8-2 win (Kenzie Homer and Joel Irwin had two goals each in the 8-2 game).
Irwin leads the team in scoring, with three goals and four assists in seven games. Kevin Swider (3-3-6) and Rob Kozak) (2-4-6) are second among Bulldogs in scoring.
Sophomore goaltender Vince Owen has started all six games for Ferris State this season, posting a 4-2-0 record with a .915 overall save percentage and an overall GAA of 2.51.
So far this season, Ferris State is outscoring opponents 24-15.
The Mavericks split a pair of games last weekend with Nebraska-Omaha. Sophomore defenseman Ben Christopherson had a goal and two assists and rookie goaltender Todd Kelzenberg made 23 saves on 24 shots in the 5-1 win.
In the 6-5 loss, junior forward Tim Wolfe had two goals and junior defenseman Todd George had a goal and two assists for the Mavericks.
MSU-Mankato leads this series 4-3-1, and the Mavericks swept the Bulldogs in two games last season in Mankato.
Look for a split this weekend.
Picks: Mavericks 4-3 Friday, Bulldogs 4-2 Saturday