CCHA Notebook: 11/15

GoBlueWolverine Magazine's weekly look inside the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Where will Michigan end up in this weeks Power Poll after recording its first CCHA sweep at home in the past seven series? What is our prediction for the Wolverines first road trip of the season in Big Rapids this weekend?

Week in Review
In the first weekend with a full slate of CCHA action, the Wolverines and Fighting Irish came away as the big winners. Both on home ice, the No. 8 Wolverines and No. 5 Irish swept the visiting Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks and Bowling Green State Falcons with considerable ease. Michigan dispensed of UNO 6-4 and 5-1 while Notre Dame dealt with BGSU 5-2 and 4-0.

Right behind the Irish and Wolverines were the No. 4 Michigan State Spartans, the No. 15 Northern Michigan Wildcats and the Western Michigan Broncos, all of which recorded three points on the week. Michigan State let a second intermission lead slip away in a 2-2 tie with Ferris State on Tuesday before knocking off the Bulldogs 6-0 on Friday, Northern Michigan took care of Alaska on home ice with a 2-2 tie before a hard fought 3-2 in on Saturday night, and Western Michigan went into Columbus, Ohio, and escaped town with an 8-5 win and a 2-2 tie.

No. 5-ranked Miami University and Lake Superior State battled to a split on the weekend on the Lakers home ice.

Power Poll
1. Notre Dame - Swept BGSU to remain climb to the top of the Power Poll.
2. Michigan - Recorded its first home CCHA sweep in the last seven series'.
3. Miami - After two weekend splits, sliding Nebraska-Omaha must be a sight for sore eyes.
4. Michigan State - Can the Spartans jump to No. 1 with a sweep of Notre Dame this weekend?
5. Northern Michigan - Held serve at home against Alaska last weekend.
6. Alaska - Gets the weekend off after two long road trips.
7. Nebraska-Omaha - Still sliding… winless in their last four games.
8. Lake Superior State - Splitting with Miami jumps the Lakers over the Buckeyes.
9. Ohio State - A weekend against BGSU should help get over a disappointing weekend against Western.
10. Ferris State - Golden opportunity to move up with Michigan coming to Big Rapids.
11. Western Michigan - A three point weekend in Columbus could do wonders for team confidence.
12. Bowling Green State - Swept by the Irish last weekend.

Players of the Week
Offensive Player of the Week
Erik Condra, Notre Dame - Condra just edged out the Wolverines Kevin Porter with a five point, +2 weekend for the Irish. Condra had three assists on Friday night against Bowling Green, and followed that up with a two goal and one assist performance on Saturday to help the Irish sweep Bowling Green State.

Defensive Player of the Week
Jack Johnson, Michigan - Johnson was instrumental in the Wolverines home sweep over the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks this past weekend. His goal on Friday night iced the Wolverines win at 6-4, and he assisted on the Wolverines opening goal of the contest on Saturday night to go along with a +6 rating for the weekend. Johnson is an astounding +17 in 9 games for the Wolverines.

Match up of the Week
No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 5 Notre Dame Notre Dame has had a magical start to the 2006-07 season. A blow out win over then No. 1 Boston College has sparked the Irish on their eight game unbeaten streak, and their defense has been spectacular allowing just 11 goals in 10 games. Michigan State enters the contest with a 1-0-1 weekend against Ferris State including a 6-0 white washing in the series finale.

X-Factor
Michigan State Penalty Kill vs. Notre Dame Power Play
Michigan State has been killing penalties at an 87% clip thus far in the season, but Notre Dame is scoring on over 20% of their chances. In the net for State, Jeff Lerg has been either hit or miss with a great game or laying an egg. If he's not on during the Notre Dame power plays, it could get ugly. If Michigan State can stay out of the box and kill penalties, the Spartans have a great shot at a weekend sweep.

Prediction
It's a home-and-home series this weekend so both the Irish and the Spartans will have an opportunity to do damage on home ice. With that said, the advantage at Munn Ice Arena is much greater then at the Joyce Center in South Bend. Michigan State keeps the offense rolling and the special teams for Michigan State elevate their game. Michigan State sweeps the Irish.

In Other Action…
Minnesota-Duluth @ Northern Michigan
Prediction: Northern Michigan wins

Ohio State @ Bowling Green
Prediction: Ohio State sweeps

Michigan @ Ferris State
Prediction: Michigan sweeps

Wayne State @ Lake Superior
Prediction: Lake Superior takes three points

Northern Michigan @ Western Michigan
Prediction: Northern Michigan sweeps

Nebraska-Omaha @ Miami University
Prediction: Split

**TUESDAY NIGHT SPECIAL**
Michigan State @ Michigan
Prediction: Michigan wins

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