As part of USCHO’s redesign, I’ll be posting my picks for upcoming games on Friday mornings and this season I want to start where I left off, with last year’s CCHA tournament.
Why? Because I was right. I so rarely get to say that.
In the 2010 CCHA tourney at JLA, I picked Northern over Ferris – risky because NMU was the bridesmaid of the league, never having made it to the title game under Walt Kyle – and Michigan over Miami – risky because UM was on an improbable run and Miami was solid.
My money was on Michigan that weekend and I had Miami over FSU in the third-place game, so I was 4-for-4 to end the official picking season.
I had a record of 121-82-34 going into that week, and I finished the year 125-82-34. It’s not wretched. I think that’s something.
Of course, I’m starting at 0-0-0 this week.
This week, there’s one conference series and lots of good nonconference action. Last night, Notre Dame beat Lake Superior in South Bend, 4-2, while Michigan State came from behind at home against Maine for a 4-4 tie. Tonight, those four teams finish two-game sets.
Should be some good hockey. If you’re in Munn tonight, say hello.
LSSU at ND Friday. Four different Fighting Irish scored in Thursday’s 4-2 game, and Mike Johnson was solid with 26 saves on 28 shots. For LSSU, it was the Will Acton-Zach Trotman show up front, each scored, and each provided the sole assist on the other’s goal. That’s the concern for the Lakers, the potential lack of scoring depth. Brian Mahoney-Wilson had 30 saves, so he’s doing his part. The Irish are 26-23-7 all-time against LSSU. ND 3-2
Maine at MSU Friday. Thursday’s 4-4 tie was animated. There was a significant bit of feistiness, as the teams combined for 52 minutes, all minor penalties. The shot total was high: 41-38 in favor of Maine. The game looked fast, but it also looked like an early season game. The last scoring of the night was Mike Merrifield’s shorthanded, game-tying goal early in the third. The teams split a pair in Orono last year. My head says Maine, but my heart says Sparty on! MSU 4-3
Union at Alaska, CC at Alaska Friday-Saturday, the Brice Goal Rush in Fairbanks. The Nanooks opened last season with back-to-back hardware, with bragging rights in both the Kendall Hockey Classic and the Brice Goal Rush. This season, UAF could not repeat that performance, having beaten Air Force, 5-2, to advance to the deciding game of the KHC last week, but losing, 3-1, to North Dakota once they got there. This week, the Nanooks are looking to defend their own tournament, beginning with Union, who outscored Sacred Heart 16-3 last weekend. In the second game, UAF faces Colorado College, who defeated and tied Rensselaer last week. Kelly Zajac has four goals for the Dutchmen while Keith Kincaid has played over 96 minutes of shutout hockey already for Union. Rylan Schwartz has two goals for the Tigers, and Joe Howe (.941 SV%) has played both games for CC. Again with the head-heart pick. UAF 3-2, 3-2
BGSU at Clarkson Friday-Saturday. Falcons head coach Chris Bergeron is looking for his first win as the BG skipper. Last weekend, BGSU dropped two games to visiting Michigan. Clarkson lost 8-0 to UNO in the opening game of last week’s Maverick Stampede before a 6-2 win over St. Cloud in that tournament. Six different players scored single goals for the Golden Knights last weekend and junior Paul Karpowich got the win. Jordan Samuels-Thomas had two goals and an assist to pace Bowling Green Last weekend. BGSU 3-2, Clarkston 4-2
Miami at SCSU Friday-Saturday. Last weekend, the RedHawks split a pair of 6-3 games at home with New Hampshire, winning Friday’s contest. Two RedHawks, Alden Hirschfield and Carter Camper, each netted three goals on the weekend, each scoring two in the win. Cody Reichard got the win. In Saturday’s loss, the RedHawks surrendered five unanswered goals in the second half of the second period, all credited to Connor Knapp. SCSU beat RIT, 3-1, and lost to Clarkston, 6-2, in last week’s Maverick Stampede. Ben Hanowski leads SCSU with two goals and Mike Lee got the win. Miami 4-2, 4-2
SLU at FSU Friday-Saturday. The Bulldogs split a pair of games in Huntsville last weekend, beating the Chargers 4-1 Friday before losing 4-2 the following night. Junior defenseman Chad Billins (who?) had two goals and an assist to lead all Bulldogs in that set; in his first two seasons at FSU, Billins had five goals and a total of 22 points in 67 games, so “fast start” seems an appropriate term. Pat Nagle and Tyler Nelson split duties in net, with Nagle picking up the win. The Saints tied Minnesota State twice in OT on the road last weekend, 5-5 and 1-1. In the 5-5 game, SLU was leading 4-2 going into the third before MSU netted three goals to take the lead. In the 1-1 decision, the Saints came from behind. Sean Flannagan had two goals and three assists on the weekend. FSU 4-2, SLU 3-2
WMU at Mercyhurst Friday-Saturday. The Broncos split a pair of home games against Canisius to open the season, gutting out a 3-2 overtime win Saturday, the end result of a game that WMU led after one. That earned new head coach Jeff Blashill his first collegiate win. Max Campbell had a goal in each game and Nick Pesillini earned the win. Mercyhurst opened its season two weeks ago with a 4-4 tie in Ann Arbor and beat Queens College 8-1 in exhibition last weekend. Four different Lakers scored in the game against the Wolverines and Jordan Tibbett was in net. Homer picks. WMU 3-2, 4-2
RMU at OSU Friday. The Buckeyes split their openers last weekend on the road against Quinnipiac, losing 2-1 Friday and winning 4-0 Saturday, the first victory for new head coach (and espouser of tough love) Mark Osiecki. Sergio Somma had two goals for OSU and Cal Heeter played both games for a .972 save percentage on the weekend. RMU beat American International twice last weekend, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 10-4. Two Colonials, Nathan Longpre and Trevor Lewis, have two goals each on the young season, and Brooks Ostergard had both wins, but Longpre is serving a one-game suspension because of a game disqualification he earned in RMU’s 6-3 win over AIU. OSU beat RMU twice in 2008, a 4-0 win in Pittsburgh Nov. 14 and a 7-4 win in Cleveland Dec. 6. OSU 3-2