CCHA Notebook: 12/8

GoBlueWolverine Magazine's weekly look inside the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. How will Michigan fair in the Power Poll after a disappointing split with Western Michigan last weekend? What do the Wolverines need to do to take care of business against No. 5-ranked Notre Dame this weekend? It's all inside this weeks edition of the GBW CCHA Notebook.

Week in Review
Miami and Notre Dame each solidified their spot as a front runner for the CCHA regular season crown with two critical sweeps. Both on home ice, Miami took care of the pesky Ferris State Bulldogs with a pair of wins in Oxford, while in South Bend, the Irish took two from a gritty Alaska team.

Lake Superior State and Nebraska-Omaha also recorded sweeps on the weekend. LSSU took advantage of an opportunity to move up the CCHA ladder and took four points from Northern Michigan in a home-and-home series, and Nebraska-Omaha got back on track with its first weekend sweep in over a month by taking care of Bowling Green two nights in a row.

Michigan, entering the week as the number one team in our Power Poll, recorded a disappointing split against Western Michigan and Ohio State earned a split with the Spartans at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing.

Power Poll
1. Miami – And they have the best girls to boot.
2. Notre Dame – Biggest weekend of the season coming up.
3. Michigan – See above.
4. Michigan State – Should be watching their backs.
5. Lake Superior – Impressive sweep over the Wildcats.
6. Nebraska-Omaha – I think the worst is behind them.
7. Alaska – Can rebound at home with BGSU this weekend.
8. Ohio State – HUGE series this weekend for the Bucks with Miami.
9. Northern Michigan – A good team to be ranked this low in the Poll.
10. Ferris State – Needs to defend home ice against LSSU this weekend.
11. Western Michigan – A week off after their hard fought series with Michigan.
12. Bowling Green State – Is it football season yet? Again…

Players of the week
Offensive Player of the Week
Ryan Jones, Miami - Jones led the Miami RedHawks to a sweep over the Ferris State Bulldogs with a five goal weekend. Two of his three goals on Friday night came in the third period to put the Bulldogs away, and he chipped in with two more goals on Saturday night to complete the sweep.

Defensive Player of the Week
Scott Parse, Nebraska-Omaha - Parse is usually the top forward on the Mavericks roster, but the talented scorer made the move back to the blue line for one game last weekend. From the blue line he contributed three goals, two assists and a +5 rating.

Match up of the Week
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 5 Notre Dame
Who would have ever thunk it at the beginning of the season? Notre Dame is coming into Yost on Friday night as one of the hottest hockey teams in America. With the No. 5 rational ranking, it's the first time the two teams have met head-to-head with the Irish being the higher-ranked team in the polls. If either of these two teams can record a pair of wins, the loser is pretty much out of the CCHA regular season title hunt.

Michigan Penalty Kill
Michigan will be without two of their top defensemen this weekend with Jason Dest and Jack Johnson both out of the line up. Johnson was questionable heading into this weekend, but it doesn't like the shoulder had enough time to heal. With these two out, it makes protecting Sauer even more important. Dest and Johnson were both defenseman on the PK and, with ND's stingy defense, the Wolverines aren't going to score much. Keeping ND off the scoreboard on the power play will be a huge help.

Despite not having two of their top defensemen, Michigan is going to come out and compete. Notre Dame might be favored according to the national polls, but I think Michigan can win this series. Capitalizing on their chances will be critical for the Wolverines, and I like Michigan to take three points from this weekend series.

In other action…
Bowling Green State@ Alaska
Prediction: Alaska Sweep

Michigan State @ Northern Michigan
Prediction: Split

Lake Superior State @ Ferris State
Prediction: Split

Miami @ Ohio State
Prediction: Miami takes three points

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