Weekend work-up: Nov. 8, 2010

What’s the bigger story, that Miami left Big Rapids with one point to its credit — or that the Bulldogs took five from the No. 1 team in the country?
Michigan State left Kalamazoo empty-handed, or the unranked (and formerly lowly) Broncos swept a ranked (and formerly undefeated) team?
Notre Dame emerges at the top of the standings after the CCHA weekend shuffle, or the unranked Falcons earn their first conference win after knocking off one of the top programs in the league?
Heading in to last weekend, Miami and Notre Dame were tied at the top of the CCHA standings, with Michigan one point behind them. Now the top of the CCHA has been reshuffled, with the Irish on top of the standings with 14 points. Then comes Michigan (13), Miami (12), Alaska (11) and Ferris State (10).
Ah, parity.
The haves

  1. Miami. After averaging more than five points per game through their first seven D-I games this season, the RedHawks have been held to two or fewer points in their last three. Two of those games were ties, one a loss. Carter Camper, with more points than anyone else in the nation for the moment, figured into both Miami goals in a 2-2 tie against Lake Superior Oct. 30 and when the RedHawks lost to FSU, 3-2, just this past Friday (Nov. 5). In the 1-1 tie the following night, he was kept off the score sheet completely, including in the shootout.
  2. Ferris State. Even more interesting to my mind is the Bulldog defense, which limited the high-flying Miami offense to just 18 shots in Friday’s contest. When the RedHawks redoubled their efforts Saturday, putting 37 shots on net, the capable Pat Nagle (1.68 GAA, .930 SV%) was there. Very impressive.
  3. Western Michigan and Michigan State. In Kalamazoo, the Broncos came from behind Friday after MSU’s Brett Perlini scored two first-period goals, and sophomore Ben Warda (who?) had the game-winner Saturday for WMU, his first goal of the season. He had one goal in 33 games last year.

(Yes, I know that MSU is in the bottom half of the standings. For now.)

  1. Notre Dame and Michigan. Then there are Notre Dame and Michigan, two teams playing good, solid hockey, each splitting on the road. After each team had its hat handed to it Friday – a shutout loss for the Wolverines and just a loss for the Irish – each rebounded with decisive wins.

Notre Dame lost 3-2 Friday and the game wasn’t even that close, since the second Irish goal came with the empty net. In Saturday’s contest, when the Irish found themselves behind 2-1 after one, they responded with three unanswered second-period goals and went on to win 6-2. Six different players scored for the Irish, who limited the Falcons to 13 shots on goal. Freshman Steven Summerhays needed to stop just 10 for the win.
Likewise in Fairbanks, the Wolverines responded to a disappointing loss with an impressive win. With the score tied 2-2 going into the third period Saturday, UM scored three in the third, including Louie Caporusso’s empty-netter, his second goal of the game. Bryan Hogan was in net for both contests.

  1. Alaska. It should surprise no one that the Nanooks shut out the Wolverines, 3-0, Friday night. Alaska opened its 2009-10 season with a 2-0 win over UM in the Kendall Hockey Classic and took two points from the Wolverines with a tie and a shootout win during the regular season, in Ann Arbor.

The Nanooks finished their little CCHA home stand 3-1-0, and Scott Greenham (1.79 GAA, .931 SV%) has established himself as the conference goalie to beat in the early going this season.
The have nots?
The usual suspects – BGSU, WMU – are doing things very differently, so it’s unlikely they’ll be perennial bottom-dwellers.
Northern Michigan and Lake Superior? These teams split a pair of games in Sault Ste. Marie this past weekend, with the Wildcats taking Friday’s contest. In each game, the winner limited the loser to just a goal.
Four different guys scored for NMU in the 4-1 win, and Reid Ellingson had 42 saves.
Three different guys scored for LSSU in the 3-1 win, and Dominic Monardo scored in each game for the Lakers.

And the Buckeyes – uncharacteristically – did their part to Defend the Realm, sweeping Alabama-Huntsville in Columbus, outscoring the Chargers 11-3 in the process. Nine different Buckeyes scored. Who knew?
It’s worth mentioning, too, that OSU outshot UAH 90-36 – but worth mentioning because of the performances of Chargers goalies, C.J. Groh (44 saves) and Clarke Saunders (35).