CCHA Notebook: 11/14

GoBlueWolverine Magazine continues its weekly notebook on the CCHA. In this edition, we discuss Michigan's weekend sweep of the Northern Michigan Wildcats, rank the CCHA teams in the GBW Power Poll and give our outlook on the CCHA this weekend.

Around the CCHA
It's been an interesting week since we last updated the CCHA Notebook, and as a result, there has been lots of movement in the power rankings this week. We'll kick it off with our Michigan Wolverines.

Michigan continued to roll this weekend with the schools first ever road sweep of Northern Michigan. In the contest, the Wolverines penalty kill was up to its usual standards, but the power play dropped significantly from the success it has enjoyed in previous weeks by only converting on two of 16 opportunities. Michigan worked on the power play for a fair amount of time at practice last Wednesday and you can expect the same this week. Along with the four points in the CCHA standings, U-M may have also gained another notable positive this weekend. Billy Sauer anchored Michigan in the weekend sweep and he did a fantastic job making save after save in the third period after NMU had tied the game. Also, Michigan should regain the No. 1 spot in the polls today following Colorado College's loss to Wisconsin on Saturday night. Michigan is off until the College Hockey Showcase kicks off against Minnesota on 11/25.

Michigan State had a rough weekend getting swept by the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks this past weekend and tying Ferris State on Tuesday. Michigan State has had a tendency to get off to a fast start before tanking it in the past few years. Is this another case of MSU being overrated early in the year? I don't think so, but this week's game against Ohio State will be important for the Spartans. MSU should drop in the polls back to around No. 11-15.

Miami of Ohio dropped their first decision of the season last weekend when losing to the Lake Superior State Lakers. Miami had just cracked the top 10 and should drop in the polls a little bit, but Miami may finally be playing like many thought they would last year.

Ohio State was off this weekend, and it's a good thing for the Ohio State faithful. In the early part of the season, special teams has absolutely killed the Buckeyes as they've recorded 10+ penalties per game and only converted on 8% of their power plays. I imagine that last week and this week will have spent a lot of time on working the power play and expect to see improvement when the Spartans come calling on Tuesday night.

Power Rankings
1. Michigan
2. Michigan State
3. Miami, Oh.
4. Northern Michigan
5. Ohio State
6. Notre Dame
7. Alaska-Fairbanks
8. Nebraska-Omaha
9. Bowling Green
10. Lake Superior State
11. Ferris State
12. Western Michigan

On Tap
Michigan State vs. Ohio State*
Ferris vs. Bemidji State^
Alaska-Fairbanks vs. Nebraska-Omaha (2)
Michigan State vs. Western Michigan (1/1)
Lake Superior State vs. Ohio State (2)
Northern Michigan vs. Bowling Green State University (2)
Notre Dame vs. Miami, Ohio (2)

*Denotes a Tuesday night game.
^Denotes a non-conference game.

Outlook
Michigan State and Ohio State will be an interesting match up. OSU is struggling big time entering the weekend last in the CCHA standings. I believe the weekend off was just what the doctor ordered to cure the Buckeyes power play woes (Only converting on an 8% clip this year) and expect the Buckeyes to win at home in a game that will turn around their season.

Ferris vs. Bemidji State is a game that the CCHA should win. I haven't had much time to follow Bemidji State so I won't make a prediction, but look for Ferris to win someway or another.

UAF vs. Nebraska-Omaha will be another key match up between schools that will be jockeying for position come tournament time. Nebraska-Omaha is coming off of a two game sweep against Michigan State while UAF is coming off a bye weekend. I like UAF's team in this one but will give UNO two points in the series since it is @ UNO. Series split.

Michigan State vs. Western Michigan shouldn't be close. Western Michigan is terrible and Michigan State is a better team then they showed last weekend. Michigan State sweeps the Broncos.

Lake Superior State vs. Ohio State will be a key series for the Buckeyes to climb back up in the CCHA standings. Ohio State needs to defend their home ice if they want to play on it during the CCHA tournament. LSSU shouldn't give the Buckeyes much trouble if they can get off the schnide against Michigan State. Buckeyes sweep.

Northern Michigan vs. BGSU will be an interesting series to watch. Both teams were projected to have strong teams this year, and both have been moving in the wrong direction as of late. NMU has dropped four in a row while BGSU was swept this past weekend by Notre Dame. NMU's losses came against top competition, however, and I expect the Wildcats to get back on track this weekend. NMU Sweep.

Notre Dame vs. Miami, Ohio is my series to watch this weekend. Notre Dame is the most improved team in the conference and Miami is playing like they were supposed to last year. I wouldn't be surprised to see both of these teams finish in the top half of the standings. I like ND to take one in this weekend.




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