With all the buildup surrounding this week’s game between No. 5 Michigan and No. 3 Michigan State, an important story may be lost in the hype.
Last Friday, when University of Alaska-Fairbanks head coach Dave Laurion announced his resignation effective at the end of the season, the ripples throughout the college hockey world were small, to be certain. During Laurion’s tenure, the Nanooks have struggled to be competitive, perennially lingering near the bottom of the CCHA standings.
Laurion’s record as Nanook coach isn’t necessarily an accurate measure of his coaching abilities. Consider that Laurion, who’s spent 14 years total at Fairbanks, has had to recruit to the geographically most remote NCAA Division I program. Consider also how much money the hockey program costs the school, and the kind of position that Laurion has found himself in.
One of the conditions for UAF joining the CCHA was that the school would pay for all travel expenses for competitors to play in Fairbanks. Think of the funds it takes to fly an entire team and staff to Fairbanks; think of how many times the Nanooks do this per year.
Think, then, of the kinds of pressures that Laurion and the Nanook team have faced. Expenses need to be justified. A winning program would certainly justify expenses. But there is no way the Nanooks can compete with any other CCHA program in the recruiting wars, given the location of the school and its minimal exposure outside of Alaska.
So, the school doesn’t see results, and doesn’t adequately fund recruiting, which further hampers recruiting efforts, which does nothing to help the results of any given season.
"I think it will be healthy for the program for someone to come in with new ideas for fund raising and ticket sales," says Laurion.
Fund raising and ticket sales? If Laurion is preoccupied with just keeping the program afloat, how can the school expect him to effectively do his job as coach?
Money is so tight for the Nanooks that their booster club had to buy them a skate sharpener last season–the school itself refused the request for funds.
Several CCHA coaches have been very vocal in their opposition to the Nanook program. Several complain each time they head north; several have suggested the Nanooks don’t belong in the league.
The fact remains that the CCHA did welcome the Alaska-Fairbanks program as a full member of the league. The CCHA had every chance to turn down UAF’s application, but it did not. If allowing UAF to join the CCHA was indeed a mistake–and I’m not saying that it was–how sad it would be if the league simply sat back and watched the Nanooks conveniently unravel.
With 32 points, No. 3 Michigan State is two points ahead of No. 5 Michigan, at the top of the CCHA standings. Last weekend, the Spartans beat Lake Superior 4-1 before skating to a 1-1 tie with Northern Michigan. This Friday night, Michigan State and Michigan square off in Munn Ice Arena.
The Wolverines beat Bowling Green 5-4 before tying Ohio State 1-1 last weekend. In addition to the game against the Spartans, No. 5 Michigan travels to No. 10 Notre Dame Saturday.
Ohio State beat Ferris State 3-0 and tied No. 5 Michigan 1-1 last weekend. The Buckeyes moved into third place with 25 points, but are just one point ahead of No. 10 Notre Dame. This weekend, Ohio State hosts Western Michigan for two.
After a tie and a loss, the No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish slip to fourth place, with 24 points. The Irish tied Northern Michigan 3-3 and lost to Lake Superior State 3-1 in a swing through the Yoop last weekend. No. 10 Notre Dame hosts No. 5 Michigan Saturday night.
Ferris State slipped out of the top four with a 3-0 loss to Ohio State and a 4-4 tie in Bowling Green last weekend. With 23 points, however, the Bulldogs are in good shape to hop back up. This weekend, Ferris State hosts Miami for two.
With 22 points, Northern Michigan is nipping at the Bulldogs’ heels and is certainly within reach of a top-four finish. Last weekend, the Wildcats tied No. 10 Notre Dame and No. 3 Michigan State. Northern travels to Alaska-Fairbanks for two this weekend.
Bowling Green is in seventh place, five points behind Northern Michigan. Last weekend, the Falcons lost to No. 5 Michigan 5-4 before tying Ferris State 4-4. This week, Bowling Green travels to Lake Superior State for two.
Miami holds on to that eighth spot by the slimmest of margins. With 11 points, the RedHawks are one point ahead of the bottom three teams. Miami was idle last week, and travels to Ferris State this weekend for two.
Alaska-Fairbanks, Lake Superior State, and Western Michigan are tied for last place with ten points each.
Last weekend, the Nanooks blanked Nebraska-Omaha 4-0 and 7-0. They host Northern for the first time ever this weekend.
Lake Superior State lost to No. 3 Michigan State before upsetting No. 10 Notre Dame. The Lakers host Bowling Green for two this weekend.
Western Michigan dropped a pair of games to No. 8 Rensselaer in Troy last weekend, 5-2 and 2-0. The Broncos and Buckeyes face each other twice in Columbus this weekend.
Last week’s record in picks: 7-5 Overall record in picks: 80-56
That’s Ties 4, Paula 0, in case you’re counting.
No. 5 Michigan (17-5-3, 14-3-2 CCHA) at No. 3 Michigan State (20-3-4, 14-2-4 CCHA) Friday, 7 p.m., Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, MI
Oh, the rivalry! Oh, the hype! Oh, the humanity!
On game nights when Michigan and Michigan State play each other, life in the entire lower third of the great state of Michigan comes to a dead stop. Air traffic becomes messy. The shelves of the local video store are stocked. You can’t even get a pizza delivered.
Okay, it’s not quite that monumental–but don’t tell that to fans of either team.
"These are big games for all teams," says Michigan head coach Red Berenson of the pair the Wolverines will play this weekend.
"Whether or not they have a bearing on the standings remains to be seen. But if you’re going to make any ground, you’ve got to do it when you’re playing head-to-head. It might be the only chance you get to advance your team."
The Wolverines won a tight 5-4 game in Bowling Green last Thursday before getting just one point from Ohio State, where a late third-period goal tied it up for the Buckeyes.
Geoff Koch (2-3–5), Mark Kosick (6-8–14), Sean Ritchlin (6-1–7), Mike Comrie (9-11–20), and Dale Rominski (10-4–14) scored the goals against Bowling Green, while Josh Blackburn made 22 saves.
Comrie had the goal in the OSU game, in which Blackburn had 25 saves. With his two goals and an assist on the weekend, Comrie was named the CCHA Rookie of the Week.
"We’ve been a little erratic of late, but we’ll be ready for this game," says Berenson. "These teams typically don’t give each other much."
Ain’t that the truth. Michigan beat Michigan State 2-1 in their first regular-season meeting in Yost on Nov. 20. At the GLI, Michigan State beat Michigan 3-1.
Seven of the last ten meetings between the Wolverines and Spartans have been decided by two or fewer goals.
The Wolverines travel to East Lansing 4-1-1 in their last six. The Spartans are riding a 14-game unbeaten streak, having most recently beaten Lake Superior 4-1 and tied Northern Michigan 1-1.
"We didn’t play very well for two periods against Lake," says Michigan State head coach Ron Mason. Regardless, the Spartans got the 4-1 win, with Bryan Adams (12-6–18), Mike Weaver (1-5–6), Adam Hall (6-2–8), and Rustyn Dolyny (10-7–17) had goals in the game against Lake Superior State.
Dolyny also had the only goal in the game against Northern, scoring at 9:53 in the third on the Spartan power play to tie the game.
Joe Blackburn (1.35 GAA, .931 SV%) had 20 saves in the game against Lake, but 36 in Marquette–the highest number of shots surrendered by the Spartans this season.
This game pits the two best defenses in the nation, and two goalies leading the CCHA in stats. Michigan State has a definite edge defensively, outscoring opponents 66-25, with a team plus/minus of +156.
The Wolverines have outscored opponents 58-37, and are +66 as a team.
The stats say that Joe is better than Josh, but stats don’t tell the whole story. Michigan has an edge in net.
Scoring-wise, there’s no doubt who has the advantage. Mike York (9-18–27) is tied for second in league scoring with Hugo Boisvert and Dan Price. York’s the best player on the ice in any game he plays.
"He’s multidimensional," says Mason. "Mike York does every part of the game well, whether it’s faceoffs, or power plays, or penalty killing. In our league, no one’s going to win the national scoring title because you have to earn your space in the CCHA. But he’s the whole package."
In addition to York, Shawn Horcoff (9-12–21), Adams, and Dolyny are among the CCHA’s top twenty point scorers.
Michigan has a good offense led by Comrie, followed by the underrated Josh Langfeld (9-7–16), Kosick, Rominski, Dave Huntzicker (2-10–12), and a trio of defensemen–Bubba Berenzweig, Mike Van Ryn, and Jeff Jillson–with 11 points each.
Michigan State’s league-best penalty killing (.925) should be able to handle the Wolverine power play, which is performing at 16.5%. Similarly, while converting at just 12.2%, the Spartans probably won’t be much of a match for the Wolverines’ 87.7% penalty kill.
The Spartans are 20-0-4 in their last 24 games in Munn Ice Arena, a school record. Although it will be close, they’ll probably extend it.
Michigan State 2-1
No. 5 Michigan (17-5-3, 14-3-2 CCHA) at No. 10 Notre Dame (14-7-3, 11-6-2 CCHA) Saturday, 7 p.m., Joyce Center, South Bend, IN
The Fighting Irish had a rough trip north last weekend, tying Northern Michigan 3-3 before losing 3-1 to Lake Superior State.
"We had lots of chances," says Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin of the game against the Wildcats. "We had a penalty from the warm-ups, so they started the game on the power play. We had great, great chances. Forrest [Karr] played well."
Aniket Dhadphale (10-7–17), Ryan Dolder (2-2–4), and Troy Bagne (1-1–2) scored for the Irish in the tie. Karr (2.27 GAA, .904 SV%) made 30 saves in the game.
On Saturday, Poulin says that the Irish didn’t play their best hockey, and that Ben Simon (11-15–26), Dan Carlson (5-13–18) and Dhadphale totaled 18 shots on goal. Simon had the sole Irish goal, and Karr made nine saves on the 12 shots he faced. Jeremiah Kimento made eight saves in relief of Karr.
Neither Brian Urick (10-16–26) nor defenseman Tyson Fraser (1-8–9) played for the Irish last weekend. Urick may miss this week as well because of injury; Fraser is expected to return.
Poulin says that while his team is aware of the race for points, he doesn’t want Notre Dame focusing on the big picture at the expense of the smaller one.
"If you get caught up in watching the schedule, you’re in trouble."
Michigan leads this all-time series 50-33-3, and head coach Red Berenson is 28-2-1 against Notre Dame. In games against Coach Poulin, Berenson is 11-1-0.
Going back to last year’s playoffs, these two teams have played each other very tough. The Irish came back to tie the Wolverines 2-2 on November 14 in South Bend. One week later, the Wolverines beat Notre Dame 1-0 in Yost.
One key for Michigan will be staying out of the penalty box–something the Wolverines had difficulty with two weeks ago but didn’t seem to have much trouble with last week. The Notre Dame power play is ungodly good, at 23.1%.
Michigan has the clear advantage both defensively and in the net, but that first Notre Dame line is strong, even if only two-thirds of the line is playing. Dhadphale is a sniper on the power play; half of his 10 conference goals have come on the PP.
This should be a good one, and I suspect this pick will hurt me in the end.
Notre Dame 2-1
Western Michigan (3-14-6, 2-11-6 CCHA) at Ohio State (13-10-4, 11-6-3 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH
The Broncos played their last nonconference games of the regular season last week, losing 5-2 and 2-0 to Rensselaer. Head coach Bill Wilkinson says Western Michigan used the games as a final tune-up before the last big push to make the CCHA playoffs.
"Everything went smoothly," said Wilkinson. "The refereeing was good. The host school was great."
Now that the Broncos return to CCHA action this week against the Buckeyes, Wilkinson says his team needs to get back to the defensive basics.
"Early in the season, we played well defensively. We’ve got to get back to that play. We’re beating ourselves, taking penalties at the wrong time.
"And as good as Ohio State is, we’re more concerned with us than we are with them."
Greg Mitchell (0-1–1) and Bryan Farquhar (1-1–2) had the goals against Rensselaer. Matt Barnes (3.26 GAA, .882 SV%) made 33 saves in the 5-2 loss, while Jeff Reynaert (3.91 GAA, .883 SV%) stopped 26 pucks in the shutout.
Wilkinson is right to be concerned about the Bronco defense. Western is being outscored by opponents 40-77, and the team plus/minus is -190 in conference play.
Turning such a defense around may be difficult in Columbus, where the Buckeyes are once again playing good hockey. Ohio State shut out Ferris State 3-0 and tied Michigan 1-1 last weekend in the Schottenstein Center.
However, the Buckeyes make a habit of giving bottom-of-the-conference teams confidence, having recently lost 4-3 in overtime to Miami, and 3-2 to Lake Superior in the Schott.
"Last weekend was very good for us," says head coach John Markell. "We’ve got some guys concentrating again. Boisvert and Maund are on track, and Richards is playing well."
Hugo Boisvert (10-17–27) and Chris Richards (5-12–17) lead the Bucks in scoring, followed by J.F. Dufour (6-6–12), Eric Meloche (3-7–10), and Andre Signoretti (3-7–10). Boisvert is tied with Dan Price and Mike York for second in league scoring.
Jeff Maund (2.01 GAA, .929 SV%) has moved ahead of Ferris State’s Vince Owen in league goaltending for third in conference stats. Maund made 55 saves last weekend and became the only player in the league to be named CCHA Defensive Player of the Week four times this season. Maund was also the USCHO Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this year.
Yan Des Gagne (1-0–1), Boisvert, and Dufour scored against Ferris State. Defenseman Ryan Jestadt (4-2–6) scored the tying goal with just 1:10 to go against Michigan.
Markell is aware that Ohio State has a tendency to show up for big games and let down for other opponents.
"The challenge is on them, the players," says Markell. "We need to work on consistency. We have to understand that we get good offensive chances because we play good team defense."
The last time these two teams met, Ohio State led Western Michigan 2-1 with less than five minutes of regulation remaining, but Corey Waring (5-5–10) scored at 16:48 in the third to tie the game.
In that game, Maund stopped 14 of 16 Western shots on goal, the fewest shots the Bucks have allowed this season.
Ohio State should, by the book, beat Western Michigan twice. But will the Buckeyes be up to this challenge?
"We have to understand that Western Michigan can beat any team on any given night, just like Lake," says Markell. "I hope we’ve learned a lesson about that."
Ohio State 4-1, 5-2
Miami (6-16-4, 4-13-3 CCHA) at Ferris State (11-9-4, 10-7-3 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Ewigleben Arena, Big Rapids, MI
The Bulldogs ran into some tough competition last weekend on a swing through Ohio, losing 3-0 to Ohio State and tying Bowling Green 4-4.
Vince Owen (2.09 GAA, .925 SV%, fourth in the league) was excellent in net for the Bulldogs in the OSU game, allowing just one even-strength goal, and stopping 24 of the 26 shots he faced. Owen stopped 27 shots in Bowling Green.
Jim Dube (3-8–11), Rob Collins (2-4–6), Jason Basile (1-2–3), and Scott Lewis (1-4–5) had the goals in the tie.
The Bulldogs are led in scoring by Brian McCullough (7-7–14), Kevin Swider (7-5–12), Joel Irwin (6-7–13), Dube, Brent Wishart (4-7–11), and Geoff Bennetts (8-2–10).
The RedHawks, idle last weekend, notched their first back-to-back wins two weeks ago, with a 4-3 overtime win over Ohio State, and a 7-3 win over Lake Superior State. The last ‘Hawk game was a 5-1 loss to Michigan State at The Crown in Cincinnati on January 16.
Mark Shalawylo (9-8–17), Jason Deskins (7-7–14), and Alex Kim (6-7–13) lead the RedHawk offense. Kim has five power-play goals, tying him for third in the league. Converting at 12.3%, the Miami power play is ninth in the league.
Ian Olsen (3.19 GAA, .895 SV%) is has seen more time in the Miami net, but senior Andy Marsch (3.99 GAA, .863 SV%) is the goaltender of record in four of the RedHawks’ six wins. Marsch has started the last four Miami games, and is 2-2-0 in those four starts.
The RedHawks are young, talented, and enthusiastic, but have a ways to go before being consistently competitive. Miami is 2-6 in one-goal games this season, compared to 7-6 last year, and the ‘Hawks tend to give up late goals, allowing 10 in the last two minutes of regulation play this season.
Opponents have scored 22 times within the last two minutes of any given period against the RedHawks this season.
Ferris State holds a 31-26-9 advantage in the all-time series. This is the first meeting between the RedHawks and Bulldogs this season; Ferris State took the season series 2-1-0 last year, winning the final two meetings. Miami is 3-5-2 in its last 10 trips to Big Rapids.
These are two games that each team needs to win. The Bulldogs are fighting for playoff home ice, and the RedHawks are just fighting to make the playoffs. Ferris State has every advantage in this series, especially in net, where Owen is outstanding.
Shalawylo is a playmaker for Miami, and the RedHawks never give up, but Big Rapids is a tough place to play for anyone, let alone the RedHawks.
For Miami, Dustin Whitecotton continues to remain out of the line-up with that broken left humerus. Freshman defenseman Jake Ortmeyer suffered a broken thumb in practice on Jan. 11, and is expected to miss the next two weeks.
Ferris State 4-2, 3-1
Northern Michigan (15-9-2, 10-8-2 CCHA) at Alaska-Fairbanks (8-16-0, 5-15-0 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. AT, Carlson Center, Fairbanks, AK
Nanook head coach Dave Laurion announced his resignation last week, and he’s positive he’s making the right choice for himself, his family, and for Nanook hockey.
"I think it can be used as a positive," says Laurion. "I still want to go out a winner, make the playoffs, and shake up the college hockey world."
The Nanooks certainly played like they had something to prove last weekend, beating Nebraska- Omaha 4-0 and 7-0. "We had a good weekend against Omaha," says Laurion. "Ian Perkins obviously won the goaltending dual."
Perkins (4.24 GAA, .878 SV%) had 61 saves on the weekend. Scott McIlroy (0-3–3), Jim Lawrence (6-7–13), Dennis Gould (0-0–0), and Dwayne Zinger (2-5–7) had the goals in the first game; Nathan Rocheleau (1-3–4), Kerry Hafele (3-4–7), Daniel Carriere (2-2–4), Jamie Coady (5-2–7), Chris Kirwan (7-3–10), and Lawrence scored in the second game. Aaron Grosul (0-3–3) had two assists in the 4-0 win.
(Remember, all stats used in previews of conference games are conference stats.)
This weekend, the Nanooks host the Wildcats for the first time ever, having played all six previous meetings in Marquette. Northern Michigan tied Notre Dame 3-3 and Michigan State 1-1 at home last weekend.
Scoring came from unexpected places in both games for the ‘Cats last weekend. Chad Theuer (3-8–11), Lee Ruff (1-3–4), and Fred Mattersdorfer (4-7–11) scored against the Irish, while Doug Schmidt (2-2–4) had the unassisted goal against the Spartans.
Dan Ragusett (2.48 GAA, .906 SV%) had 27 saves against Notre Dame, and 22 against Michigan State. Ragusett had been splitting time in net with Duane Hoey, but has started the last eight games for Northern. In those eight starts, the sophomore has a 2.17 GAA and .924 save percentage.
Wildcat head coach Rick Comley says, "Its a long trip for us this week up to Fairbanks, but these games are very important for us if we’re going to gain a home-ice playoff berth. We’re coming off of a pair of tight games at home versus Notre Dame and Michigan State, and we’ll have to carry that same intensity over into this weekend’s series."
Of course, the Wildcats play an incredibly intense game, with one of the league’s top lines and a forecheck like nobody’s business.
J.P. Vigier (17-8–25), Buddy Smith (2-21–23), and Roger Trudeau (9-7–16) comprise the top Wildcat line, and they bring it every night. Smith and Vigier assisted on Ruff’s first goal of the season last weekend, and Vigier and Trudeau assisted on Theuer’s goal, on the Wildcat power play.
That man-advantage is important to the Wildcats, who have tallied at least one power-play goal in five of their last six games. Northern is 13-3-1 when scoring on the PP this season, and the Northern power play is converting at 15%, fourth in the league.
Northern has won all six meetings between the ‘Cats and the Nanooks. Earlier this season, the Wildcats rallied from a 3-1 deficit by scoring three goals within a three-minute span in the second period to take the lead in Marquette. Northern won 5-3, and outshot the Nanooks 40-16.
This game pairs one of the league’s most explosive offenses with one of the least eventful. The Wildcats are averaging 3.2 goals per game, while the Nanooks are scoring 2.35 on average. UAF will have its hands full if the ‘Cats have that man-advantage. The Nanook penalty kill is effective just 78.4% of the time, and UAF averages over 20 minutes in the box per game.
Wildcat defenseman Colin Young is expected to be out for three or four weeks with a sprained knee, and defenseman Mike Sandbeck (sprained ankle) is questionable for this weekend’s series after being injured Friday’s game against Notre Dame.
It will be interesting to see how the Wildcats weather the long trip, and that may certainly be a factor in these games. But Northern has every advantage from the net out, and they want home ice as badly as UAF wants to make the playoffs.
Northern Michigan 4-3, 6-3
Bowling Green (11-11-3, 7-9-3 CCHA) at Lake Superior State (5-16-3, 4-12-2 CCHA) Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Taffy Abel Arena, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
The Lakers lost 4-1 to Michigan State the night before beating Notre Dame 3-1 last weekend.
"We couldn’t get to the net in the third against Michigan State," says Laker head coach Scott Borek.
Trent Walford (3-7–10) had the goal in the MSU game for the Lakers, assisted by Fred Slukynsky (6-3–9) and Ryan Vince (3-5–8). Netminder Mike Brusseau (3.08 GAA, .891 SV%) made 20 saves, as the Lakers kept the shots close, 23-21.
Brusseau looked good the second night as the Irish peppered him through two and two-thirds periods, saving 24 of 25 shots. In the third, Brusseau had to be replaced with Rob Galatiuk (3.91 GAA, .886 SV%); Brusseau was rushed to the hospital with severe dehydration.
The starting goalie should be ready to go this weekend, a victim of a ‘flu that’s run through the Laker team. Another victim was back-up Jayme Platt (2.85 GAA, .898 SV%), who was so sick he didn’t even suit up for the Notre Dame game. Galatiuk saved all eight shots he faced in the third, as the Lakers stayed tough for the 3-1 win.
Jeremy Bachusz (3-3–6) scored shorthanded, and Tyler Palmer (1-3–4) and Ben Keup (2-3–5) each had a goal in the win.
Borek calls Galatiuk’s performance "gutsy" and says that the Notre Dame game was "a good win, considering."
The Lakers are hosting the Falcons twice this weekend. Bowling Green came from behind to beat Lake 5-4 two weeks ago in BG. The Falcons lost 5-4 to Michigan and tied Ferris 4-4 last week at home.
"They played a great game against Michigan on film," says Borek. "Their top line was pretty dominant against Michigan."
The top Falcon line includes Adam Edinger (11-17–28) and Dan Price (8-19–27). Edinger currently leads the CCHA in conference scoring, by a point. Price is tied with Hugo Boisvert and Mike York for second in scoring. For his two goals and three assists last weekend, Price was named the CCHA Offensive Player of the Week.
In the earlier meeting, Vince had a pair of Laker goals, and Walford and Slukynsky also scored. Chris Bonvie (8-7–15), Ryan Wetterberg (1-1–2), Edinger, Austin de Luis (2-1–3), and Ryan Murphy (6-16–22) netted goals for the Falcons.
Bowling Green outshot Lake Superior 39-24. In the loss, Platt made 34 saves, while Mike Savard (3.47 GAA, .877 SV%) had 20 saves in the win.
Borek is impressed with the Falcon fourth line of Wetterberg, Dennis Williams (3-1–4), and Scott Hewson (0-2–2), and also with the BG power play, which has improved to converting 20.7% of the time.
"Certainly, we need to work on staying out of penalty box. We just need to make sure we play a disciplined game," says Borek. "And we need to go to the net hard."
In the 5-4 loss to Michigan, Bonvie, Edinger, Grady Moore (2-5–7), and price scored for Bowling Green. Against Ferris State, Bonvie, Price, Murphy, and Williams scored. The Falcons had two power-play goals in each game. Savard made 50 saves on the weekend.
The Falcons lead the all-time series against the Lakers 56-48-4, and are 20-25-2 in Abel Arena. In the last six games played in Sault Ste. Marie, BG is 5-1-0, and is 7-2-0 in the last ten games against Lake Superior. The last three games in the series have been decided by a goal.
Laker Ryan Knox (3-5–8) is out indefinitely with mono, and Laker Matt Frick (shoulder, ‘flu) should return to play this weekend.
There’s no doubt that Bowling Green has the edge offensively, and given the recent play of both teams, it may be fair to say that the Falcons are better defensively, too. Both Brusseau and Platt have better numbers than does Savard, but the senior Falcon netminder has been playing competitively during the last dozen games.
If the Lakers stay out of the penalty box, they have a chance at taking some points–a slim chance. The Falcons are playing for playoff position, while the Lakers are playing to make the playoffs. If Lake is going to take points, it may be the first night, but it’s likely Bowling Green will come out ahead both nights.
Bowling Green 4-3, 5-2