Three things, March 6

1. MacNaughton going home

Michigan Tech clinched a share of the MacNaughton Cup as the WCHA’s regular-season champion on Saturday night after beating Northern Michigan 5-1 and after co-champion Minnesota State lost 1-0 to Bemidji State. While the Mavericks picked up their second-straight title, the Huskies are getting the cup for the first time in 40 years. Michigan Tech is the 103-year-old trophy’s trustee, so getting it back in Houghton, even for part of the next year, is undoubtedly special for the program. “I’m really proud of our players,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “We’ve had a great regular season, and I’m really, really proud of how we finished things off.” The Huskies, who have the No. 1 seed for the WCHA tournament, thanks to the tiebreaker over Minnesota State, have won five games in a row and have just one loss in 2016, a span of 14 games. They will host Alaska in next week’s best-of-three series. Minnesota State, the second seed, will host Lake Superior State.

2. Home ice for Ferris

Ferris State leapfrogged over Northern Michigan on Friday night with a win over Lake Superior State and held on to that fourth and final home-ice playoff spot on Saturday despite dropping the second game against the Lakers. Northern Michigan dropped both games to Michigan Tech to finish fifth. The Bulldogs will host the Wildcats for a chance to get back to the Final Five, which will be played in their backyard of Grand Rapids, Mich. In a cool moment on Friday, Ferris State honored retiring equipment manager Ben Mumah before the game. He had been on the bench with the Bulldogs for 33 years. The other team with home-ice advantage next weekend is Bowling Green, which will host Bemidji State. The third-place Falcons split their series at Alabama Huntsville, with Friday’s stunning 7-5 loss to the 10th-place chargers taking them out of contention for a regular-season championship.

3. Playoff in Alaska

The biggest series of the weekend took place in Fairbanks, Alaska, where the Alaska Nanooks not only won the Governor’s Cup over rival Alaska Anchorage but also jumped over the Seawolves to claim the WCHA’s final playoff spot. A four-point weekend from senior Tyler Morely, who had missed the team’s previous six games, had to help the Nanooks get out of the basement. He was one of the WCHA’s leading scorers before getting injured. Now he makes them a potentially dangerous team heading into the playoffs. “Extremely proud of this group,” Alaska coach Dallas Ferguson said. “We talked about it for the last few weeks here, just about pushing and pushing and sticking together and finding ways. Extremely proud of our team an dhow they kept it together and stayed on it.” Anchorage, meanwhile, will sit out the league playoffs for the second year in a row. It lost seven of its last eight games. Alabama Huntsville is the other odd team out, finishing last despite getting points in all but one of its final seven series.

 

37 COMMENTS

  1. As a BC fan, I would still think that Abbott would make it to the top 3, even if he doesn’t play this weekend and Maine doesn’t advance. But like you mentioned, if he does play and Maine goes through at least to the Frozen Four or Regional Finals, he should be the guy to get the Hobey Baker. I have seen this kid play in live and on tv, he has developed himself to be a NHL ready college senior. Good Luck and hope you recover soon!

    • Thank you BC_2012. I would like to add Domoulin to the Hobey Hat Trick. He is one of the best defensive players in College Hockey History. I am a Maine Fan and I have great respect for BC and Brian is the heart of that team.If BC needed him to score more than he would. BC is loaded at Forward. Brian lets them creep up and pounce on rebounds. Hockey East Championship was a prime example.

      Your remarks about Spencer are spot on and the sign of a true College Hockey Fan!

  2. I agree it is between Connolly & Spencer Abbott at this point. Best wishes to Spencer, I hope you are healthy & ready to go on Saturday!!

  3. I think if Abbott doesn’t play on Saturday and UMD beats Maine you have to look at Connolly as the favorite. He hasn’t missed a game in his four years and with it being neck and neck at this point I think the award goes to the player of the team who advances. 

  4. Maine vs UMD should be a good game. I am kinda bummed for Abbott bc you don’t wish injury on anyone. Not being biased but I feel that Jack deserves the hobey, because he actually has very good grades (not saying abbott doesnt) and he has done great even with his two former linemates gone. Just a great guy on and off the ice. Go Dogs!!

    • He has good grades and is a solid guy on and off the ice? So obvioulsy you are a Duluth fan…What are Abbotts grades? What is he like off the ice? Trust me you may not wont to compare that in order to get your boy the bronze statue? Maine as a team has one of the highest GPA’s in all of college sports, the sophmore goalie has a 4.0 and he is not the only one on the team. So you may want to keep the discussion to what they have done on the ice, and if you look at it the value to the team and sport. Maine hasn’t been in the NCAA tourney in years and over the last 4 has increased its chances to not in at all to having to win the HE tourney to get in and losing in OT to last year just missing and this year led by Abbott a no doubter into the field! Flynn and Diamond on his line doesnt help him as much as it does them. Just look at the numbers of what they do without him as to what he does without either of them. Take your grade and kind of guy comparison and add it to straight hockey and team value and I bet the scale dips a whole lot more to Abbott buddy!!

      • And then you obviously are a Maine fan or have no clue whatsoever to what the Hobey is. Leaving it ON the ice-is not how the Hobey is selected.
        From the Hobey Website:
        Hobey Baker Award Criteria
        1. Candidates must exhibit strength of character both on and off the ice.   2. Candidates must contribute to the integrity of the team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game.  3. Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and sportmanship.   4. Candidates must comply with all NCAA rules: be full time students in an accredited NCAA college or university; and complete 50% or more of the season.

  5. the other Hobey finalists?  based upon a TEAM effort in getting into the nationals only ‘qualify’ those on your short-list?  get with the program, go back to school and learn to write an article. the Hobey is more than playing extra games – try reviewing the criteria to winning this honor

    • First of all, the last time I really got into the additional criteria for the Hobey, it turned into a big ugly mess that I hope to never be part of again. I’m much happier this year, when fans are arguing the relative merits of their favorite Hobey candidates purely in terms of on-ice performance. That having been said, the majority of what I do involves trying to predict the behavior of the actual Hobey voters, and my prediction at the moment is that the Hobey Hat Trick will include Jack Connolly, Spencer Abbott, and one of five other players, pending the results of this weekend’s NCAA tournament games.

      • Couldn’t agree more Elliot.  Its nice that we can leave out the character issue this year.  Jack is a great kid and Abbott seems to be as well.  Lets just do the right thing and give the hobey baker to the kid who played consistent all year long and didn’t get blanked 6 out of 9 times vs the top teams in the conference. 

        Typically I would look this info up, but I am working and sneaking a look in during lunch.  I am curious what is the break down of position played for hobey winners in the past?   I am just wondering because it doesn’t take a great hockey mind to know that playing center is more difficult than playing wing.  It pains me to say this because I was a left winger myself, but having dabbled in all other positions besides between the pipes, wing is by far the easiest position to play and carries the least amount of defensive responsibly.  

        • As a defenseman myself, who plays wing from time to time, I couldn’t agree more.  Wingers have the least responsibility on the ice, and is the easiest position to play.  Personally, I can’t really play center, because I just don’t always know where I should be.  Defensemen, on the other hand, have to constantly watch the whole rink to make sure no one is behind them, while still trying to help generate offense.  In my opinion, a defenseman who plays great defense AND can score a decent amount of points is the most critical part of a team, except of course the goalie…  Without a good goalie, you just can’t compete.  That being said, Go Spencer Abbott!  I believe Maine got cheated out of a Hobey last year, and I’d really like to see it go where it belongs this year…  Whether Abbott or Connolly wins it, it’s going to be tough to see the other player not win it.

      • Let’s go Abbott! Brought a tea, to the NCAA tournament first time in 5 years, that speaks volumes, especially after loosing Nyquist and a top d pair!

        • Jay, please don’t talk about losing your top end talent and still making the tournament like its a huge accomplishment.

          8 players that left UMD after last year accounted for 193 points.  That includes two 50+ point guys in Connolly and Fontaine and possibly the best PP defenseman in the nation in Faulk who had 33 points.    UMD lost ALOT more than Maine.

  6. As everyone else says above, the Hobey Hat Trick should surely include Abbott and Connolly…..Im thinking the darkhorse now has got to be Hutwick for Michigan.  Im not a huge fan of on how who does what in postseason, because to me awards like this outta go to how they played in the regular seaon and everything else before the tournament.  I mean the Heisman trophy bases there season during the regular season(trust me, I have issues on how they go about that award as well, lol).   But, Im hoping to see Abbott play this weekend because of all the hard work hes put in this year, from last summer working on his game thru the season we’ve had….if not it’ll be to bad because the country will miss out on seeing one of the best in the nation this year.  Either way, Im looking forward to watching the game in person Saturday, it should be a great game in my opinion, and just maybe we’ll get another shot at BC!  Go Black Bears!

  7. Nice article Elliot. To you and everyone else, who would you favor to win the Hobey if Neither Abbott nor Connolly won? Consider two responses, (1) if the season ended before the tourney starts and (2) how the player ends the season.

  8. Dude, do you even watch any of these guys?
    Abbott has 145
    points in 150 career games.
    Connolly has 195
    points in 164 career games.
    My god, look at the points per game difference. Connolly has NEVER Missed a game!
    Is that even close? Connolly has a ntnl. championship.How do you put them in the same class?
    Jack = H Baker

    • Yes, but the Hobey Baker is not a career award, but a single season reward, and this year Spencer Abbott has 61 points in 38 games, and Jack Connolly has 58 points in 39 games.  Can you compute for me the point per game ratios there?  Also, he plays in Hockey East, which boasts 2 of the top ten goalies in the country, where the WCHA has no goalies in the top ten.

    • all scoring in a weak league… but as you are completely unaware, its not about scoring or Austin Smith would have won already.  career achievements do not mean squat.  its a yearly thing.. get with the program.
      anyways, Abbott and Connolly were both shut down against quality teams

  9. How is it that a kid scores 36 goals in 39 games, his team doesn’t make the NCAA tourney and suddenly he’s on the bubble? Not to mention he had 6 short handed goals and finished the season, pre-NCAA, 3rd in points behind two players with 39+ assists. Let’s be honest, getting assists on a team that has the depth of Maine or Duluth is much easier than scoring 36 goals for a team that was barely over .500 on the year. The hobey is still an individual award, no? If Colgate had half the following of Maine or Duluth, Austin Smith would be a no brainer for hobey. I think the hobey panel will see through the fog of pthe opularity contest but we all know the fans are much less open minded. It’s too bad.

  10. As I heard all the hype about Abbott and watched UMD crush Maine all i have to say is done deal. Jack Connolly will be the Hobey winner. Abbott is way over hyped or I  must need glasses. After the first period he was absolutely non-existent.

  11. Concerning Grosenick; well he did have a pair of dominant wins and a birth into the Frozen Four, oh yeah and had a highlight reel save that was # 2 on ESPN’s Top Ten play of the day but it wasn’t against Miami of Ohio. 

  12. “…given that Miami was the first team to declare its intention to leave the CCHA after the formation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference was announced, but I digress…”

    Yet another viewpoint from Paula, who apparently cannot see without her B1G glasses on

  13. Sooo the way I look at it, Brady Hjelle wins the Paula Weston best CCHA player on a Big 10 team award? Really must have been tough to pull that one out since all B1G teams can do is beat each other. Hjelle gave up 10 goals to 10th place Michigan at home in a series where they were battling for a home playoff series, and even got pulled on Saturday! Are you freaking kidding me!?

  14. So let me get this right. Miami’s arch rival and nearest CCHA opponent, OSU, was leaving. Two other high profile opponents with relatively short bus rides from Oxford, Uof M and MSU were leaving, What was left besides BGSU, ND, and WMU were long, longer, and longest bus rides from Oxford, 358 miles to FSU, 543 miles to LSSU, and 652 miles to NMU, plus the flight to Alaska in a lower profile conference. …and you think Miami should have “taken one for the league” and stayed?

  15. The ridiculousness of the “Miami was the first team to declare its intention to leave the CCHA after the formation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference was announced” comment notwithstanding, I find it very hard to believe all 6 series will end in sweeps this weekend…

  16. Paula, why is it that the only time you ever mention the #1 team in the league is to incorrectly blame them for the demise of the CCHA or to give a backhanded compliment? If you’re upset about the end of the CCHA then place credit where credit is due; Michigan, Michigan State and your beloved Buckeyes. I’m really looking forward to not reading your articles next season about how wonderful the mediocre teams in the B1G are. It’s probably the best thing to come out of the demise of the CCHA!

  17. I have been trying to figure the tiebreakers for seeding the last few minutes. This is what I have for Saturday’s games.

    If Miami wins, they are #1, if they lose and WMU wins, they are #1, if ND wins they get #1 if both Miami and WMU lose. If Miami wins, ND needs to win and have WMU lose to get the #2 seed, If Miami, WMU and ND all win, the stay the same with Miami #1, WMU #2 and ND #3.

    The #4 and #5 spots are pretty clear cut. If OSU wins they get the #4 seed. If OSU loses and Ferris wins, Ferris is #4 and OSU drops to #5. If both lose OSU is #4 and Ferris #5.

    Alaska has locked up the #6 seed and will host #11 seed MSU in the first round series.

    7-10 are still a royal mess.

    If Michigan wins, and BGSU loses, Michigan is the #7 seed. The winner of LSSU-NMU would jump to the #8 seed and BGSU would drop to the 9th seed. If BGSU wins, and Michigan loses, BGSU is the #7 seed. LSSU-NMU winner is 8th, Michigan is 9th and LSSU-NMU loser is 10th.

    If both BGSU and Michigan win then BGSU is the #7 seed and Michigan is the #8 seed. This is based on tiebreaker of goals for and against among the tied teams. BGSU won 5-1 and lost 1-3, for an aggregate of 6-4. The LSSU-NMU winner is 9th and the lose 10th.

    If both BGSU and Michigan lose, then the winner of the LSSU-NMU game moves to the #7 seed, BGSU would be the #8 and Michigan the #9, followed by the LSSU-NMU loser as the #10.

    MSU has already locked up the #11 spot and will head way west for first round playoff action in Alaska.

    I have to calculated ties and shootouts into these calculation, as they would create another entire mess for seedings.

  18. .
    I am not arguing against WCHA rules.

    But Tech has (both in and out of conference) more wins, more goals for, bigger goal differential, and 3 out of 4 points against MSU.

    As far as I am concerned the “share” of the cup is only happening because we are nice. ;)

    Dear 1913 MacNaughton Cup:

    Welcome home to the Copper Country!

    Make sure to stop in Red Jacket at the Colosseum. In case you forgot, the both of you are the same age, 103. Yeah, THAT barn that is regarded as the oldest continually used rink in the world.

    And don’t be a stranger any more will you? I will see you soon!

    Thanks, Kiko
    ___________

    Now bring on Alaska!

    GO TECH GOLD!
    .

    • It was a very disappointing loss in Mankato on Saturday and I can’t say I would argue your points. The way I see it Tech is a hotter team and will most likely win in GR and represent the WCHA in the NCAAs. The Mavericks are a slightly above average team that needed to get only one win in Alabama against the last place team to hold the cup alone. It is those ties that will haunt more than the loss to Bemidji’s incredibly boring but effective defensive game.

      On another note, two writers that were in Mankato wrote pieces about how poor WCHA officiating is. Not an excuse for the loss but they make some good points. The current officiating hurts teams like Tech and Mankato the most.

  19. Do you still have Perrault and the horrific Shepard Bros. officiating games? The idiot brothers, along with Todd Anderson, all seem to flip flop between NCHC and WCHA games. Or at least did for awhile there. When Denver left for the NCHC we thought we were done with them and their piss poor game calling. Apparently game officials are in high demand.

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