Weekend work-up, Jan. 23, 2012: You can't fight city hall

Three quick things from the weekend.
1. You can’t fight city hall. At the beginning of the 2011-12 season, Miami and Michigan were picked to finish second and third, respectively, in both the coaches and media preseason CCHA polls. At the end of the first half of the 2011-12 season, Michigan was eighth in the CCHA standings with 19 points and Miami — one point behind — was ninth. Thanks to their home sweep of Western Michigan, the RedHawks are now tied with the Broncos for second place, each team with 33 points. The Wolverines trail the RedHawks and Broncos by one point and are alone in fourth place. Parity is one thing, but there’s no substitute for histories of sustained success.
2. Sometimes goal scoring isn’t enough to break a slump. Ohio State was on top of the world at the end of the first half of the season; now the Buckeyes hold on to the top of the CCHA standings by two little points. After a loss and tie at home against Ferris State last weekend, OSU’s winless streak extended to six games (0-3-3) and the Buckeyes are looking for their first win in the second half. The first four games in January saw OSU score just four goals. Against FSU, OSU scored six but allowed seven — but the fault isn’t in net. Cal Heeter’s numbers (2.15 GAA, .928 SV%) are still among the best in the nation.
3. Never underestimate those Falcons. When Alaska and Bowling Green played a two-game series in Ohio in November, the Nanooks blanked the Falcons twice, 3-0 and 2-0. Last season, the Nanooks swept the Falcons in Fairbanks, 4-1 and 4-1. Given those two goals allowed in four games, maybe the Nanooks’ coaching staff thought Friday night would be a good night to give starting goaltender Scott Greenham a break and junior Steve Thompson a little bit of game time. Maybe, too, the Falcons sensed they were being — as the kids say — dissed. By 6:40 in the second period, the Falcons were up 3-0. Thompson was replaced at the start of the third by freshman Sean Cahill, who’d never played a college game. Cahill went on to block both shots he faced in the third — yes, the Nanooks allowed just two shots in the third — but the Falcons went on to win their third league game of the season. Greenham was in net the following night and the Nanooks won, 4-1. Kudos to Andrew Hammond for his 27-save performance in Friday’s win.


      • Ladies and Gents can we change the subject for a minute.The hockey poll voters are getting as bad as those for ncaa football.Can anyone give me an explaination on how teams can lose six straight games and 3 out of 4 and stay in the top 7?It just doesn’t make sense 2 me.CCHA best conference in the country going 2 miss it.

  1. With just 6 pts separating first from eighth, it looks like a very fun race to the end of the season. No team can take another for granted any longer.
    Time to hold your breath!
    Go Spartans!

  2. “Histories of sustained success?”  Journalistic Creativity at it’s best.  Berenson has traditionally used the GLI as a springboard, and this year seems no different as their slump was in November and December.  However nobody fears the Block(head) M any longer as the “Yost Ghosts” were chased away in 2011 by many teams.  History is a class, not a predestined determination of an outcome of a sport played by 8-24 yr old males.
    The CCHA standings are condensed due to a surprising 1st year by Anastos @ MSU and Murray has kept the Broncos staying relevant (although the offense took the weekend off vs Miami of Ohio), plus as you’ve mentioned recently, the 3 points earned for a regulation W.  Miami of Ohio, OSU and U of M have all played 2 extra games so far, so other than Bowling Green living in the basement this year, almost every contest during the next six weeks will be a “pivotal positional” game.

    • Um, maybe I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that 21 consecutive NCAA appearances is a history of sustained success, nor do I think it’s a stretch to say that a team that has had a run of six consecutive NCAA appearances — and Frozen Four appearances in 2009 and 2011 — makes an argument for a history of sustained success.
      The Broncos were in the NCAA tournament last year for the first time since 1996.  They look like they’ll make the tournament again this year.  This is a good start toward building a history of sustained success — but they haven’t done so yet.
      Players in programs with ongoing success understand better than players from emerging programs how to be successful — even when it appears that they’re slumping.  They may not achieve that success, but they have far more experience at their disposal than players in other programs.
      No one fears Michigan?  Really?  Given their history, I doubt that any coach in the league is thinking, “Gee, I’d really like to face Michigan in the playoffs.”  I’m not sure any coach in the country would say that.  Same goes for the RedHawks.  

      • Other than my “Go Broncos” sign-off, this wasn’t about the Bronco’s and their recent success as much as it was the Michigan Hockey Team’s past success not being relevant in 2012.  Yes, players have to learn how to win, and that confidence is developed with the influence of others.  But sports in general has examples of “teams rising above and surpassing their historical results.  Underachievers and overachievers are why games are played and not decided based on “Statistics”.  And yes, any coach/player lacing up their skates that is should want to play Michigan or Miami University anywhere, anytime, otherwise I don’t want them playing for WMU.  Call Andy Murray and ask him if he “really wants to play Michigan in the playoffs”. 

      • Bob….This has nothing to do with the 1 and 1/2 years of improved play at Western Michigan, but more that Michigan has proven that they can be vulnerable and their history isn’t relevant this year.  They’ve got great players, but the parity in the CCHA that is apparent in the 2011-2012 is more relevant than the overall coaching record of Red Berenson. 

        • The biggest reason for the UM Nov slump was turnovers in the defensive end. (3 unassisted goals by Union was the low point) After 7 game winless streak, UM was still 5th in scoring nationally. Since getting Merrill back the defense has been much improved and they have only one loss (@ND).


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