With four teams in the U.S. College Hockey Online top ten poll, the CCHA has begun 1999 and the second half of the season with panache.
This weekend’s games give some teams an opportunity to pull ahead from the pack, some teams an opportunity to make a statement, and some teams an opportunity to keep pace. Some teams, however, simply need an opportunity.
The No. 3 Michigan State Spartans made a statement and pulled ahead last week with three consecutive wins over UAF in Fairbanks–4-1, 3-1, and 5-0–with the ‘flu, and without sophomore starter Joe Blackburn. With 22 points, the Spartans have the slimmest of all possible leads in the league.
This week, Michigan State hosts Miami before heading south for a game against Bowling Green.
No. 7 Michigan (21 points) has a golden opportunity to put some distance between itself and another top-tier CCHA team when the Ferris State Bulldogs come to town for two this weekend. Michigan lost its first road game of the season, a 1-0 decision to No. 10 Ohio State.
With 20 points, the Buckeyes have climbed to third place in the league and the number-ten spot in the poll after the aforementioned 1-0 win over the Wolverines in the inaugural game at the Schottenstein Center’s Value City Arena. Ohio State hosts Lake Superior on Thursday and Saturday this week, then travels to Oxford for the rubber game in the OSU-Miami series on Tuesday.
Ferris State holds steady at fourth in the league with 18 points after three consecutive wins in the University of Guelph’s holiday tournament. The Bulldogs have a great opportunity to gain some ground when they travel to Yost for two, then host UAF on Tuesday.
Northern Michigan beat Lake Superior 4-3 before dispatching Laurentian 9-2 in an exhibition game last weekend. With 16 points, the Wildcats are in fifth place in the league. Northern Michigan is off this week.
Talk about statements! No. 9 Notre Dame (15 points) rebounded from an 8-1 loss to No. 1 North Dakota to beat the Sioux 4-3 in Grand Forks. This weekend, the Irish can make yet another when they travel to Bowling Green for one before hosting Miami.
Bowling Green split a pair of games in Omaha last weekend, beating the Mavericks 4-2 before losing 6-1. With 13 points, the Falcons know they can gain some ground with a game against No. 9 Notre Dame in Bowling Green on Friday. BG travels to No. 3 Michigan State on Saturday.
Alaska-Fairbanks and Western Michigan are poised for a battle of playoff proportions this week. Tied for eighth in the standings with eight points each, the Nanooks and the Broncos will battle it out for two games Lawson Arena. Fairbanks then plays Ferris State on Tuesday.
Alaska-Fairbanks dropped those three games to the Spartans last weekend, while Western Michigan split with Massachusetts-Amherst, winning 4-3 before losing 1-0 last Tuesday and Wednesday.
The tenth-place Miami RedHawks (7 points) resume their battle for a playoff spot in the hardest possible way, traveling to No. 3 Michigan State and No. 9 Notre Dame this weekend, then hosting No. 10 Ohio State on Tuesday. Miami was idle last week.
In last place in the league, the Lake Superior Lakers travel to No. 10 Ohio State for two games, after losing one last weekend to Northern Michigan.
Last week’s record in picks: 7-3 Overall record in picks: 56-42
See what a little blind faith can do?
Lake Superior (3-12-3, 2-8-2 CCHA) at No. 10 Ohio State (10-8-2, 9-4-2 CCHA) Thursday, 7 p.m., and Saturday noon, Jerome Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH
There’s good news and bad news for Buckeye hockey fans.
The good news is that Ohio State defeated Michigan 1-0 in the first-ever game in the Schottenstein Center’s Value City Arena. More good news: that was Ohio State’s fifth consecutive win over ranked opponents.
The bad news is that freshman winger Mike McCormick (1-1–2) is academically ineligible. McCormick had been one-third of OSU’s first line, along with Hugo Boisvert and Eric Meloche.
"There is a possibility that he’ll be gone for the rest of the season," says Ohio State head coach John Markell. "My concern right now, though, is to get him righted academically. My first concern is not about him as a hockey player, but about him as a student."
Markell says that McCormick is in part a casualty of the early-season nine-game road trip, and also that the freshman "just got off track a little bit."
The Buckeyes are looking at several players to step into McCormick’s position, but sophomore Rob Gubala (1-0–1) appears to be the front-runner.
"He’s been waiting for his chance, and he’s hungry," says Markell. "Gubala’s practiced hard."
The more immediate concern for Ohio State, however, is the two-game series against Lake Superior State this weekend.
"Our guys have been showing up for the big games," says Markell, "and now we have to beat the non-ranked opponents, too."
While the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines 1-0, the Lakers lost to Northern Michigan 4-3 last weekend.
The Lakers trailed 2-1 at the end of one, then 4-2 at the end of two. Sophomore goaltender Jayme Platt was responsible for all four Laker goals. He was replaced after the fourth goal by junior Mike Brusseau, who may emerge as the starter in net for Lake Superior.
Ryan Vince (1-1–2) scored his first conference goal for the Lakers. Also scoring for Lake State were Mike Kucsulain (3-2–5), currently fifth among Laker scorers, and Tobin Praznik (4-2–6), second in points for the Lakers.
Jeff Cheeseman (5-3–8) leads Lake Superior in scoring.
Right now, these young Lakers are having a tough time in nearly every aspect of their game. They’ve been outscored in league play 80-65; the team as a whole is minus 13; their leading scorer has just eight league points.
Complicating things for Lake Superior is the goaltending situation, which is still up in the air. In five conference games played, Brusseau’s save percentage is .948, while his GAA is 1.21. Platt, in nine games, has posted a .917 league save percentage and a 2.32 GAA. He’s also credited with the only two Laker conference wins.
In contrast, Rob Galatiuk’s league GAA is 4.30, and his CCHA save percentage is .873.
While no one in Sault Ste. Marie has declared a definitive starter–and no one’s talking about who the odd man out will be–anyone, anywhere, can do this math.
The Lakers are meeting a very confident Ohio State team, one with solid defense, good-to-great goaltending, and occasional bursts of offensive brilliance.
With six goals and 11 assists, Hugo Boisvert leads the Buckeyes in conference scoring; he’s tied with Michigan State’s Mike York for seventh in league points.
Boisvert is followed by Chris Richards (3-8–11), Vinnie Grant (3-4–7), J. F. Dufour (4-2–6) and the rest of the Buckeye scoring "committee"–which pretty much consists of the whole team. Seventeen Buckeyes have at least one conference goal this season. Talk about depth.
Ohio State is outscoring opponents 99-82. They outshot the Wolverines 30-21. They’re plus 30 in conference play.
And they have Jeff Maund in net. Maund (9-4-2) has a 2.00 league GAA, and league save percentage of .932. Maund’s shutout against Michigan was the fifth of his career, and it earned him CCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors–his third time this season.
If the Buckeyes take the first game, however, don’t be surprised to see Ray Aho in net Saturday. The junior has seen just 72 league minutes of play, and posted a 2.49 GAA and .912 save percentage in that brief time.
But remember last season, when Aho twice earned shutouts when he started to give Maund a rest after sitting for many, many games.
Markell says his team is still not used to playing in the Value City Arena, but they’ll have the advantage of four practices and a game in the new rink before meeting up with the Lakers.
Both of these teams are desperate. "They’re going to be a hard-working team, and they’re down on their luck," says Markell of the Lakers. "That’s dangerous.
"I think we’re a desperate hockey club, too. We have a lot to prove, and we’re trying to sell hockey in our new arena. And these are league games; there are four points at stake, and we need to keep pace."
When these teams last met in October, OSU won 4-1 in a dull game during which all the scoring was completed in the first period. These two games should be livelier, but the outcome will probably remain the same.
Two notes of interest to Buckeye fans:
OSU captain Dan Cousineau is questionable for the games against the Lakers. Cousineau left the Michigan game after a first-period hit; he suffered two concussions during the first half of the season, and the game against the Wolverines was his second since returning to play. He has not practiced this week.
Next, if you’re a Buckeye sports fan, this is a good week for you. The football team, men’s and women’s basketball teams, and the ice hockey team are all simultaneously nationally ranked, for the first time ever.
Ohio State 4-3, 3-1
Ferris State (9-5-3, 8-3-2 CCHA) at No. 7 Michigan (13-4-2, 10-2-1 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor, MI
The Bulldogs won three times in the Gryphon Invitational last weekend, beating host Guelph 2-1 and Waterloo 3-0, before taking the tournament title from Brock with a 9-3 win. Other than the scores, there are no stats available for the three Bulldog games.
Before heading off for Ontario, the Bulldogs ended the first half of the season on a down note in upstate New York, with a 5-4 loss to Clarkson, and a 2-0 loss to St. Lawrence.
Ferris State is, however, 4-0-1 in its last five league games, with two wins over Northern Michigan, and a win over Notre Dame and Lake Superior. The tie was with Western Michigan, which has seemingly tied everyone this season.
Michigan, on the other hand, enters this weekend after its first back-to-back losses since February. The Wolverines lost the GLI to Michigan State, and most recently dropped a 1-0 decision to Ohio State.
After the loss, Michigan coach Red Berenson said it was difficult to assess how much the Wolverines missed defensemen Mike Van Ryn (5-4–9) and Jeff Jillson, who were playing in the World Juniors, and forward Josh Langfeld (7-3–10) who was out with a shoulder injury.
"That’s not an excuse," said Berenson about playing without two of Michigan’s top five scorers. "We had twenty skaters in the lineup."
About Ohio State, he said, "Did they make a statement tonight? No, I was disappointed in our overall game."
Berenson added, "We don’t have any excuses. We just lost the game. The team that scored the first goal once you got past the ten-minute mark in the third period, that team that scores is going to win."
The winning goal was Chris Richards’ power-play blast at 13:51 in the third. The Wolverines recorded just one shot on goal after Richards scored.
This two-game series pits two teams evenly matched in many areas. Ferris State is outscoring conference opponents 39-25; Michigan has outscored league teams 39-20.
Ferris State has scored 11 power-play goals in 81 attempts; Michigan is 15 for 95.
Ferris State’s penalty kill is performing at the rate of .895; the Bulldogs have allowed eight power-play goals.
Michigan’s PK percentage is .917; the Wolverines have allowed seven power-play goals.
In goal for the Bulldogs, Vince Owen’s league GAA is 1.91, and his league save percentage is .934.
Josh Blackburn has a 1.38 league GAA, and a .938 conference save percentage.
These teams went 1-1-1 against one another last season.
There’s no doubt that Yost works in Michigan’s favor this weekend, and the return of Van Ryn, Jillson, and perhaps Langfeld doesn’t hurt either.
The Wolverines are undefeated on Fridays this season. Following the last game in which they were shut out in 1997, the Wolverines went on a ten-game tear (9-0-1), including an eight-game win streak.
Neither of these teams seems to have a breakout player; each plays a more defensive style of hockey in front of solid goaltending.
This should be a great series. It’s hard to pick against Michigan at home.
Michigan 3-2, 3-1
Alaska-Fairbanks (5-12-0, 4-11-0 CCHA) at Western Michigan (2-9-6, 1-8-6 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Lawson Arena, Kalamazoo, MI
The Broncos win! The Broncos win! Woo-hoo!
Western Michigan broke an 11-game winless streak with a 4-3 win over Massachusetts-Amherst last week, before losing the rematch 1-0. The games marked the first two nonconference games the Broncos have played this season.
As happy as Western head coach Bill Wilkinson is to get that W-monkey off his back, he can’t help but think about that 1-0 game, and how one win could have been two.
"We were zero-for-ten on the power play in that second game," says Wilkinson. "Just one conversion would’ve tied the game. That’s one area where we need to improve."
Wilkinson admits that overall offense is something that needs to improve for the Broncos. "We’re a team that’s not too bad in goal and on defense. We just need to get a couple of goals for breathing room in any game."
Where will those Bronco goals come from? "You tell me," says Wilkinson.
David Gove (5-7–12) and Frank Novock (3-8–11) lead Western Michigan in conference scoring, but Jason Redenius (6-2–8) leads the team in league goals. Gove had two power-play goals in the win.
Western Michigan is being outscored by conference opponents 59-31. As was the case last season, Western’s team plus/minus ratio tells a lot of the story; the team is at a whopping minus 148.
And now the Broncos are hurting defensively. Western Michigan is down to just five defensemen, after freshman Derek McKinlay left the team after being declared academically ineligible. Jeff Lukasak should be back; he was out with a rib injury for the series against the Minutemen.
In that two-game series, Mark Wilkinson and Anthony Battaglia were moved to defense.
The Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks are not without their own problems. These two games in Kalamazoo mark the first two of a five-game road trip that spans two weekends and the week between. The trip culminates with two games in South Bend, a tough way to end any trip.
Last weekend, UAF dropped three games at home to Michigan State, 4-1, 3-1, and 5-0. Kevin McNeill and Mike Jaros scored the only two Nanook goals in the three games.
The Spartans outshot the Nanooks 113-74, in spite of the shots in the first game being nearly even.
Before being outscored 12-2 by the Spartans, the Nanooks were being outscored by opponents 51-35; now the margin is 63-37.
Jim Lawrence (6-6–12) and Chris Kirwan (6-2–8) are the real goal-scoring threats for the Nanooks; both have speed and good puck-handling skills, and Kirwan is one of two Nanooks on the plus side of things.
On a previous trip to the lower forty-eight, Fairbanks overcame a four-goal deficit to defeat Lake Superior State 5-1, after Pat Hallett scored four goals all by himself. Incidentally, in 14 games this season, Hallett has just those four points.
The Nanooks probably have the advantage offensively, and the defense in this series–in spite of how few Bronco defensemen remain–is about even.
Is there a difference in net?
Clearly, Matt Barnes is the best goaltender for either team. With a league GAA of 3.03 and a conference save percentage of .890 in 11 games, Barnes has been relatively solid for the Broncos.
Jeff Reynaert has also seen some league action for Western Michigan, posting a 4.14 GAA and .883 save percentage in four games.
For the Nanooks, Ian Perkins (4.36 GAA, .878 SV%) has seen 12 games for the Nanooks. In five games for UAF, Chris Marvel’s numbers (3.54 GAA, .882 SV%) are slightly better.
"It’s a big weekend for us, and them, two," says Wilkinson. "It’s really a playoff scenario."
Taking four points in this weekend could be the difference between making it to the playoffs and staying home. There’s a lot at stake here, for each team.
A note for Bronco fans: Goalie Matt Barnes, defenseman Geoff Collard, and right winger Chuck Mindel have been named assistant captains on a permanent basis. Barnes is the first goaltender in Western history to be named a captain.
(Mark Magliarditi, eat your heart out.)
Western 3-2, 3-1
No. 9 Notre Dame (10-6-2, 7-5-1 CCHA) at Bowling Green (10-8-1, 6-6-1 CCHA) Friday, 7 p.m., BGSU Ice Arena, Bowling Green, OH Miami (4-13-4, 2-10-3 CCHA) at No. 9 Notre Dame (10-6-2, 7-5-1 CCHA) Saturday, 7 p.m., Joyce Arena, South Bend, IN
The Irish took an 8-1 whipping at the hands of the Sioux, and then came back to beat them 4-3 the following night, in North Dakota’s own barn.
"It was an enormous win," says Irish head coach Dave Poulin. "For us to come back after that first game was just huge."
Poulin calls the loss "strange." North Dakota scored three goals within the first two minutes of the game to go up 3-0, then added another first-period goal to make it 4-0 after one.
The Sioux added two more goals within the first two minutes of the second period to make it 6-0. "We’d been off for twenty-seven days. We just never recovered from those goals," says Poulin.
"We talked a lot about it after the game that first night, and came back the next and played our game. We hit better on Sunday night."
In the second game, North Dakota again jumped out to an early lead, scoring at 3:58 of the first, but Notre Dame remained composed, scoring four unanswered goals in the second to make it 4-1 before the Sioux scored with 51 seconds left in the middle stanza to make it 4-2.
"In the second game, we had real chances to make it five-to-one when we were up by four, and we just couldn’t finish."
All five Irish goals against the Sioux were even-strength goals, something Poulin says is encouraging; the lack of power-play goals means that Notre Dame can find a way to win without relying on the power play.
One-third of Notre Dame’s 47 conference goals have come on the power play, which is clicking along at a league-leading pace of 22 percent.
In their last two league games, 4-3 and 4-1 losses to Ohio State in early December, the Irish were held to two power play goals on 15 chances, converting at a rate of just 13 percent.
In other words, it’s really good news that the Irish won without converting on the power play.
Lest you’ve forgotten, the Notre Dame offense is one of the most potentially explosive in the league. Brian Urick and Ben Simon are tied with Northern’s Buddy Smith and J.P. Vigier for conference points; both Urick and Simon have registered eight goals and a dozen assists apiece.
And lest you think that the Notre Dame offense is the sum of two players, you should know that Notre Dame has 16 players who have recorded league goals this season, including the sniper Aniket Dhadphale (9-9–18), Dan Carlson (4-10–14), and David Inman (7-6–13). Matt Van Arkel and Chad Chipchase have six league goals each.
Five different Irish players scored the five goals against North Dakota: Van Arkel, Urick, John Dwyer, Inman, and Chipchase.
The first team to challenge this high-powered offense this weekend is no slouch in the goal- scoring department itself.
Notre Dame at Bowling Green
If the Falcons had some solid goaltending, they’d be one of the more dangerous teams in the league.
Five Falcons have conference points in the double digits. Dan Price (5-13–18) and Adam Edinger (8-10–18) are tied for fifth in league scoring, which really means that there are four players with 20 league points and just these two with 18.
Mike Jones (5-10–15), Ryan Murphy (3-10–13), and Craig Desjarlais (4-6–10) are the other three BG players among the top thirty scorers in the league. A host of other Falcons have league points, too.
But Bowling Green is minus 40 as a team in conference play. Even though the Falcons have scored an impressive 45 league goals, they’ve allowed 53.
The starter in net for Bowling Green is senior Mike Savard. With a 3.61 GAA and a .873 save percentage, Savard is not among the leading goaltenders in the league.
Behind him is Shawn Timm, who allowed five goals on 22 shots in the first 32 minutes of BG’s 6-1 loss to Nebraska-Omaha last Sunday. Behind him is Jason Piwko, who allowed one goal on ten shots in the remaining 28 minutes of that game.
The night before, Savard stopped 30 of 32 Maverick shots on goal in Bowling Green’s 4-2 win over UNO. Price had two goals in that game; Zach Ham and Greg Day scored the other two.
Edinger was responsible for the goal in the 6-1 loss.
Edinger had an eight-game point streak broken by the Mavs Saturday; Price saw his own eight- game point streak broken Sunday, while Jones had a nine-game streak snapped Sunday.
Miami at Notre Dame
The Irish face another goaltender not among the CCHA leaders when the RedHawks travel to South Bend.
Ian Olsen (3.18 GAA, .895 SV%) can be good but is inconsistent in the Miami net. Olsen is 11th in the CCHA goaltending scheme of things, and that doesn’t bode well for Miami.
In fairness to Olsen (and BG’s Savard), Notre Dame goaltender Forrest Karr’s save percentage of .893 doesn’t set the league on fire, but the Irish have better defense and far more offense to front their goaltender than do the RedHawks.
The ‘Hawks have a trio of good players leading the team in league scoring. Alex Kim (5-7– 12) is always a threat; Mark Shalawylo (5-6–11) is a playmaker; Jason Deskins (5-5–10) has 11 goals in overall play.
While 16 RedHawks have registered at least one league goal, no one has more than five, and Miami is being outscored 51-35 in league play. The team is minus 60.
Before taking last weekend off, the RedHawks snapped a six-game winless streak by b eating St. Lawrence 4-3 (OT) in the consolation game of the Syracuse Invitational Tournament. Deskins tallied his first collegiate hat trick in the game.
Bowling Green leads the all-time series with Notre Dame 27-19-3, but the Falcons are just 4-5-1 against the Irish in their last ten games. Notre Dame took the season series last year 2-1-0, and the Irish beat up on the Falcons 6-2 in Bowling Green on November 15 this season.
While both teams have great first lines, scoring depth, and potentially explosive offense, Notre Dame has it all over the Falcons defensively. If Bowling Green can keep the Irish away from the net, they stand a chance to earn at least a point. Otherwise, forget about it.
Miami leads the all-time series with Notre Dame 16-5-3; currently, Miami enjoys a six-game unbeaten streak against the Irish.
Miami is, however, 1-7-1 on the road, and 1-5-0 against ranked opponents (the lone win being the St. Lawrence game).
Notre Dame has the advantage offensively over Miami this season, and the Irish defense can probably hold the RedHawk offense.
Notre Dame over Bowling Green 5-3; Notre Dame 5-1 over Miami
Miami (4-13-4, 2-10-3 CCHA) at No. 3 Michigan State (16-3-2, 10-2-2 CCHA) Friday, 7 p.m., Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, MI Bowling Green (10-8-1, 6-6-1 CCHA) at No. 3 Michigan State (16-3-2, 10-2-2 CCHA) Saturday, 7 p.m., Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, MI
The Spartans return from Fairbanks triumphant, with 4-1, 3-1, and 5-0 wins over the Nanooks.
Before leaving, Michigan State head coach Ron Mason was uneasy about the trip, given the six points at stake and the fact that starting goaltender Joe Blackburn was off with the U.S. World Junior team.
But that was before anyone knew what Mike Gresl could do.
"We got goaltending out of Gresl that we didn’t expect," says Mason.
In fact, with his six games overall and three league games, Gresl now leads the CCHA in goaltending stats with an incredible 0.67 league GAA and .965 league save percentage.
If he doesn’t play another game this season, Gresl is the prettiest netminder on paper.
Before heading north, Mason was also concerned about the travel time and the potential to lose six straight points. "It’s not an easy trip. Fairbanks is a much better team than they were before."
Now that they’re back East Lansing, the Spartans are sick. "We’re fighting the ‘flu," says Mason, "like everybody else." In fact, when Michigan State returned home, Brody Brandstatter and the team statistician remained in Fairbanks, too ill to fly.
"If we get everybody healthy and get Blackburn and Adam Hall back [from World Juniors], I think we’ll do all right. We need everybody on our roster, just like all the other teams do, if we’re going to be successful down the stretch."
While Blackburn may be no Mike Gresl–smile, reader–his 1.44 league GAA and .919 save percentage make him among the top three goaltenders in the league. In fact, only one team has scored more than two goals in one game on Blackburn in conference play, but it can’t be said here because the mere mention of a comparison between the Buckeyes and the Spartans annoys Ron Mason to no end.
The Michigan State defense is the best in the nation, allowing just 1.29 goals per game. The Spartans have allowed two or fewer goals in 18 of 21 games, and one or no goals in 16 games.
Michigan State has coughed up just eight goals during its current eight-game win streak. Three games in that streak have been shutouts.
After their three wins in Alaska, the Spartans are now outscoring league opponents by a 46-18 margin.
The Spartans have four players in double-digit league scoring. Mike York (3-14–17) leads the team, followed by Bryan Adams (10-4–14), Shawn Horcoff (6-8–14), and Rustyn Dolyny (8- 5–13). The returning Adam Hall has five goals in league play.
Dolyny is the CCHA Offensive Player of the Week for his seven points in three games in Fairbanks. Andrew Hutchinson (0-2-2 in two games) was chosen the CCHA Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week following his performance at UAF.
Michigan State seems to be nearly as good shorthanded as full strength. The Spartans have actually scored more shorthanded goals (10) than they’ve allowed power-play goals (seven). Michigan State has at least one shorthanded goal in four of its last six games, including three shorthanded goals against Fairbanks in the first period of the 5-0 game.
Dolyny and Horcoff are tied for the national lead in shorthanded goals with three each.
Michigan State also leads the nation in penalty killing, having killed off 93.5% of opponents’ power plays.
In short, the Spartans are dangerous almost all the time–except when they’re on the power play themselves. Michigan State is converting league power-play opportunities at an 11% rate, just behind Ohio State and in front of Alaska-Fairbanks, pretty darned near the bottom of the league.
This is a statistic that doesn’t bode well for the RedHawks: Miami has not scored a goal against Michigan State since January 30, 1998, some 240 scoreless minutes ago.
That includes three Spartan shutouts, only one of which–a 5-0 decision in Goggin Arena–was played this season.
The Spartans have are 5-1-1 against Bowling Green in the past seven meetings, and have allowed two or fewer Falcon goals in each of the last five games (since Mar. 1, 1997).
The Spartans beat the Falcons 7-1 on October 23 in the first game of this season’s series. Mason says, "They probably took it to us better than any other team. That was an interesting game down there. The score doesn’t reflect the game. The difference is that we were scoring."
After allowing one Falcon goal in the first period, the Spartans scored once in the first, four times in the second, and twice in the third.
Michigan State is undefeated in Munn Arena in the past 22 games.
The RedHawks are no match for the Spartans at this point. The Falcons can score, but not against this defense, in this rink.
A note of interest to Spartan fans, and perhaps fans throughout the league: After 21 games played, Michigan State is 16-3-2, which is exactly where the Spartans were at this time last season, when they went on to win the CCHA regular-season and playoff titles.
(Cue Twilight Zone theme music.)
Michigan State 4-0 over Miami; Michigan State 4-1 over Bowling Green
Alaska-Fairbanks (5-12-0, 4-11-0 CCHA) at Ferris State (9-5-3, 8-3-2 CCHA) Tuesday, 7 p.m., Ewigleben Arena, Big Rapids, MI
Both of these teams will be coming off very trying weekends when they meet up Tuesday night. The Nanooks will have just played Western Michigan in Kalamazoo in what amounts to a two- game playoff series; the Bulldogs will have just played Michigan in Yost in what amounts to two nights of guts and determination.
Ferris State has already taken a pair of games from the Nanooks, w inning 8- 3, and 5 -2 in Ewigleben Arena at the end of October.
Ian Perkins (4.36 GAA, .878 SV%) was the goalie of record for the first Fairbanks loss. Chris Marvel (3.54 GAA, .882 SV%) was in net the second night.
While the Nanooks will of course want to prove something after the back-to-back losses in Big Rapids, the outcome of this game will probably be much the same as the previous two.
Pick: Ferris State 5-2
No. 10 Ohio State (10-8-2, 9-4-2 CCHA) at Miami (4-13-4, 2-10-3 CCHA) Tuesday, 7 p.m., Goggin Arena, Oxford, OH
On paper, the Buckeyes have it all over the RedHawks.
That is, until you look at the fine print.
Ohio State pulled a win out of thin air against Miami on November 20th. Miami was up 1-0 on Mark Shalawylo’s second-period goal, in spite of being badly outshot.
It looked for all the world as though Ian Olsen would earn the shutout for the RedHawks, until Ryan Jestadt scored with just 4.6 seconds left in regulation–undoubtedly the loudest moment in the history of the teeny, tiny, now-abandoned OSU Ice Rink.
Neal Rech scored the game winner at 3:37 in overtime.
The following night, however, was another story. The Buckeyes were caught flat and perhaps a little cocky in Goggin Arena, as Miami won 4-1 in front of some outstanding play by Olsen.
Jason Deskins, C.J. Buzzell, Josh Harrold, and Alex Kim scored the goals for the RedHawks.
The rivalry between the Bucks and ‘Hawks is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in CCHA hockey. The games are never dull when these two teams meet.
This should be a lively one, and could be a problem for Ohio State, a team that hasn’t liked playing in Goggin since being eliminated by Miami there from the CCHA playoffs two years ago.
Pick: Ohio State 4-3