CCHA Notebook - 11/22

Although a day late, GoBlueWolverine Magazine released its weekly CCHA notebook and power rankings. In this edition, we talk about what the Wolverines did in their off week, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Michigan State Spartans.

Around the CCHA
After sweeping Northern Michigan University last weekend, the Michigan's hockey team, ranked No. 1 in the nation, had the week off for the first time this season. In their week off, the Wolverines practice schedule was a bit on the lighter side. Given Monday off, the team returned to the ice on Tuesday. Coach Mel Pearson ran things while Coach Berenson was on the road recruiting. On Wednesday, Berenson was back and Michigan worked the transition game and 5-on-5 time. Thursday was used to work on special teams.

Ohio State continued their improved play this weekend with a weekend sweep of Lake Superior State University. Ohio State shut the Lakers out on both Friday and Saturday, and for the first time all season, the Buckeye special teams actually demonstrated signs of life.

Michigan State continued its free fall, dropping three of four points to the Western Michigan Bronco's. WMU has now taken seven of eight points from the two teams expected to compete for the CCHA regular season title. Should Red Berenson send a present? I did watch the second game of the series on Saturday night… the WMU victory.

Miami of Ohio took three points from a Notre Dame team that impresses me more and more each week. Notre Dame has the potential to knock off anybody on any given night, and for Miami of Ohio to take three of four… that's impressive.

Alaska-Fairbanks and Nebraska-Omaha split their weekend series in Nebraska. I still like UAF as my sleeper team in the CCHA. I really like them along with ND as my sleeper teams that are capable of knocking off any team on any given night.

Northern Michigan continued to struggle by splitting with Bowling Green State, a team they should have swept. It isn't the end of the world, but there are plenty of things for the Wildcats to worry about. Bill Zaniboni didn't look good this weekend and NMU's goalies are really struggling.

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

On Tap
- Minnesota State-Mankato vs. Nebraska-Omaha (Tuesday)
- Nebraska-Omaha vs. Providence
- Northern Michigan vs. Alaska-Fairbanks
- Wisconsin vs. Michigan State
- Western Michigan vs. Colgate
- Ferris State vs. Mercyhurst
- Bowling Green vs. Miami, Oh.
- Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
- Robert Morris vs. Lake Superior State
- Minnesota vs. Michigan
- Western Michigan vs. Colgate
- Ferris State vs. Mercyhurst
- Minnesota vs. Michigan State
- Miami, Oh. Vs. Bowling Green
- Northern Michigan vs. Alaska-Fairbanks
- Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
- Wisconsin vs. Michigan
- Nebraska-Omaha vs. RPI/Holy Cross

Outlook
It's always difficult to project the college hockey showcase. Michigan has lost its last four contests in the showcase, but last year the Wolverines got revenge by knocking the Badgers out of the NCAA tournament. Michigan opens the showcase with Minnesota on Friday night. Expect there to be scoring in this one. Wisconsin enters the Saturday night game as the No. 2 team in the nation and has recorded points in its last 6 contests. Wisconsin is a team that Michigan has a better match up with. I could see anywhere from 0-4 points on the weekend, so I'll be safe and say Michigan walks away with 2.

Ohio State at Notre Dame will be a war. I really like the way Notre Dame is playing hockey right now, and even though Miami of Ohio took three of four from the Irish, I still think ND will become a more complete team as the season goes on. Also, Ohio State is going to have to play this one with a sense of urgency following the poor start. Can they afford to drop another game against a second tear team in the CCHA? I don't think so. I see Ohio State taking either 3 or 4 points this weekend.

Northern Michigan looks to bounce back from a rough few weeks with UAF in Alaska. I do like UAF as my sleeper, and see them finding a way to split with NMU, a team that was supposed to contend for the CCHA title before the season started.

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State in the opener of the College Hockey Showcase should be a good one. Michigan State is slumping, but the Spartans get the Badgers inside Munn Ice Arena, and they will be playing for tournament seeding. Also, MSU teams under Rick Comley have performed well in big games. Minnesota is in East Lansing the next night, and the same can be said as was said for the previous game. Michigan State will win at least one, possibly two. I just have a hard time deciding which. I'd guess that knocking off the Badgers it the more likely of the two.


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