Weekend work-up, Feb. 26, 2012: Bulldogs, Falcons and first-round matches

Congratulations to Ferris State, your 2011-12 CCHA regular-season champions. This is the second title for the Bulldogs, who last won in 2002-03. Should this team go as far as it is capable of going, the Bulldogs may someday become icons of the kind of league that once upon a time existed in college hockey.
So, interesting weekend. Three things learned:
1. When it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. All Ferris State needed from this weekend to secure the title was either one single point or a Michigan loss. As it turns out, the Bulldogs got all they needed on the same night when they tied Western Michigan Friday and Bowling Green won. On Saturday, FSU suffered its first loss since Dec. 30, 2011, and in delivering a 3-0 shutout, WMU exposed the Bulldogs’ biggest weakness, offense. Only time and games played will tell how much of a liability that will prove for FSU.
2. Never underestimate the Bowling Green Falcons. With third-period goals by Adam Berkle and Bryce Williamson, the Falcons came from behind to beat visiting Michigan to break a four-game losing streak and guarantee that the Wolverines would have no share of this year’s regular-season title. I know that they’re traveling to Marquette to face an NMU team that’s lost just two at home, and the idea of the Falcons putting together back-to-back wins is a stretch, but they should not be taken lightly.
3. The Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish are meeting in South Bend … in the first round? Sure, the media had Ohio State pegged for No. 9 in its preseason poll, but OSU was in first place in December — and weren’t the Irish picked first in both the preseason and coaches polls? At the beginning of the season, ND coach Jeff Jackson warned us that the Irish were being overestimated defensively, and the No. 27 ND defense has proved him right. Bowling Green will play Northern Michigan and Alaska travels to Lake Superior to complete the first-round matches, and the only team from the first round that looks like a lock to me is Northern Michigan — in spite of BGSU’s tenacity.

25 COMMENTS

    • Weak as in top-20 teams, Colgate, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Western Michigan in the toughest conference in college hockey…..
      Alex, get your facts straight sport.

      • I think you forgot the word “second” in front of toughest, easy mistake so no worries. Also, I think you mean top-20 teams who are over-rated, which is another easy mistake so I wouldn’t dwell on it.

      • According to the RPI, Ferris State has had the 14th toughest schedule in the nation so far:
        http://www.uscho.com/rankings/rpi/d-i-men/
        While that’s not too shabby overall, it’s near the bottom of the CCHA, and well behind most other ranked CCHA teams.  Michigan, Michigan State, and Northern Michigan are ranked one, two, and three in the nation in strength of schedule.  Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Miami are fifth, sixth, and seventh.  In fact, only Bowling Green has had a weaker schedule than Ferris among CCHA teams.  So while the CCHA is indeed the toughest conference all around, Ferris is hardly at the top in terms of strength of schedule.

  1. If I were a top-3 team (and I am cheering for the Broncos), I would not want to face any of the first-round winners. I certainly wouldn’t take them lightly. I love this league, especially this year.

  2. Ferris was also playing without 3 regular forwards with a combined 63 points and had 3 guys in their place who have all dressed in fewer than 20 games this year and have a combined 4 points. Even if Nelson had been in the net, I don’t think Ferris was winning that game Saturday night.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Replacing a 63 point force with a 4 point force will affect the outcome dramatically. It is best they rest players and prepare for the postseason. 

      • Yeah they had those players earlier in the season when WMU mopped the floor with them.
        They caught Miami at a bad time at the beginning of the year. Got swept by Michigan… easily… same by Western.
        Then they caught OSU and ND all on down slopes.

        • So it’s an excuse that they beat these teams when they were on down slopes, but not okay to get beat on a down slope?
          Not using that as an example for this last weekend.That was a good series. The first game was great hockey, and decided after 7 shooters in the shoot out. The second game western outplayed them. That’s hockey.
          What it boils down to is anybody can win, lose, go on streaks ect. Ferris needs to figure out how to beat U of M and Western. These playoffs are going to be exciting.

      • Yeah,what was the excuse for Friday nights game?Western smacked them down.CCHA is the best conference in the Country,the tournament should be another great 1.GO BLUE!And if Connor Knapp gets a sniff at Goalie of the year,well Hunwick was be goalie of the Century.

  3. I think NMU needs to take BGSU seriously. But the face that the falcons beat them lost year i think makes it easier for NMU to win they will have revenge on their minds. Should be interesting

    • Connor Knapp-Goalie of the Year?Shouldn’t goalie of the year,Have more then 20 games played?Come on now.We should put Cal Heeter in the running if that’s the case.

      • Good call. Can’t be goalie of the year playing half the games. Ferris st is doing the same thing. I know am backing a wolverine and being a homer but hunwick is the guy. For a guy to walk on at Michigan and carry this team the last three years is pretty remarkable. This year without hunwick Michigan would have fallen big time. Hunwick has been consisent game in and game out.

        • Maybe you can’t be goalie of the year, but you sure can be a top 10 finalist for the Hobey. Remember Cody Reichard? He played 27 games in 2009 Connor 20 that year. Cody also played all the way through the playoffs, which obviously adds on a few of those games. Reichard and Knapp have been splitting almost 50/50 for the last 4 years. 
          And Hunwick has really only been “consistent” this season when he decided it would be better to play goalie than boxer.

          • Really?Hunwick only consistent this year,that’s funny.Very consistent the last 2 seasons and great this season.Remember he was unreal last year on way 2 the National Championship game.Connor Knapp winning goalie of the year would be like the NHL giving the Vezina 2 a goalie that played 30 games.Good luck with the awards,I’ll take a National Championship instead.GO BLUE!

          • I’m sorry, I was talking about his consistency this season. Can you read? As I said, he’s been consistent in 2012, when he decided punching/kicking players didn’t do much for his goalie skills. The end of the first half of the season he wasn’t doing well. Honestly, I don’t even think he’s that good. He gives up juicy juicy rebounds, and once you get one on him, you’re bound to get 4 or 5.
            And again, as I said, if you read, if Connor plays throughout the tournament (which as this rate he will be) he could get 5-6 more games under his belt before the NCAAs. Cody was a top 10 Hobey finalist with 27 TOTAL games in a season, including the playoffs. 

          • U must be a Redhawks fan!!!I Can read and no doubt Hunwick has been consistent this season,last season and the season before that.The whole team was playing terrible earlier in the season,when Hunwick was letting up 4 or 5 goals.Remember they went something like 0-7-1 in November.Again good luck with individual awards for the Redhawks,I can tell its very important 2 you.GO BLUE.Yeah the team that smoked Knapp and Cody in January,When both teams were playing good,remember that?Hunwick 2 and 0 in that series,Knapp and Cody 0 and 2.

  4. Ohio State is still a LAUGHABLE hockey program.  They don’t deserve to sniff the NCAA’s this year.
    Good luck in the B1G Hockey league when you replace teams like Northern Michigan and Bowling Green with Wisconsin and Minnessota.  You are staring down the barrell of a 10 win season.

    • Are you suggesting that NMU and BGSU are cupcakes and when OSU joins a league with B10’s they will have a much tougher time?  You’re joking right!
       I know BGSU hasn’t faired well lately, but NMU has always been tough.  OSU did well against NMU this year, but that’s only this year.  I’ll tell you what’s going to happen when the B10 league forms – THERE IS GOING TO BE FEWER of them going to the big dance.  NMU has never been intimidated by any B10 team.  They’ve played MSU four times this year, UM four times, WI twice, OSU twice, as well as Notre Dame, and they have a pretty good record to show for it.
      There are no slouches in the current CCHA or WCHA —-so knock off the elitism.

    • Yo McGoo,Totally agree with you about the Ohio State Buckholes.They have won only 1 game in the last 13 they have played.Yet they were still ranked until this weeks poll.They stink and shouldn’t get anywhere near the ncaa tourney,even if they have a decent CCHA tournament.1 last thing,Why don’t we ever hear from ohio fans?Is it because the hockey program doesn’t win?Fraud squad-Fraud Fans.

  5. “[T]he Bulldogs’ biggest weakness, offense. Only time and games played will tell how much of a liability that will prove. . .”.
    Can’t imagine that could be much of a liability in a conference tournament or the NCAAs. Well, unless you need to score to win. :)
    I don’t really have an opinion about this team; this just seems like a remarkable statement (not in a good way) regarding a team that is regarded in some quarters as a possible national champion.

  6. FSU fans are pretty cocky going into the CCHA playoffs considering they have not beat the two teams that finished behind them in 2nd in 6 tries this year.  If you make it to the championship, one of those two teams will be waiting there ready to beat you.

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