This week, I noticed two players who contributed noteworthy performances in losing efforts. That got me thinking about other such performances this season. Here’s what I found.
- Chase Balisy, Oct. 30 vs. Notre Dame. Balisy, a freshman forward, scored the only two goals in regulation in WMU’s 2-2 tie to cap a one-point weekend for the Broncos in South Bend. Balisy also had a goal the night before in WMU’s 3-2 loss. Those three goals were his first three as a collegian; he’s now played in eight games.
- Kyle Follmer, Oct. 23 vs. Miami. Follmer, a sophomore defenseman, was the only Wildcat to score against the RedHawks in Miami’s two-game sweep of NMU in Oxford. It was the first conference goal of the season for the Wildcats and Follmer’s third career tally. He netted two last year in 41 games and has two this season in seven.
- Andrew Hammond, Oct. 30 vs. Alaska. Hammond, a sophomore, stopped a career-high 44 shots in BGSU’s loss to Alaska Saturday. Hammond’s 2.51 goals-against average and .919 save percentage so far this season far outpace his stats (4.30 GAA, .880 SV%) from the 19 games of his freshman season.
- Sergio Somma, all this young season. Somma, a senior forward with Ohio State, is keeping pace with some of the nation’s leading goal scorers, averaging .71 per game (5-3–8). The Buckeyes are 2-5-0.
- LSSU offense, all this young season. It surprises no one that Miami has five players with three or more goals through eight games (although Carter Camper with nine and Reilly Smith with seven is a bit showy), but Lake Superior State? The Lakers are the only other team in the CCHA with five guys who have netted three or more goals: Matt Cowie (4-0–4), Domenic Monardo (3-4–7), Chad Nehring (3-0–3), Rick Schofield (3-7–10) and Zach Trotman (3-3–6).
Then there are the guys who are redefining their own success …
- Pat Nagle, scoring machine. The senior Bulldog goaltender had an assist on Zach Redmond’s third-period power-play goal Friday, when UM tied FSU, 2-2, in Big Rapids. That point brings Nagle’s career total to six; he had three last season.
- Kevin Petovello, goal-scoring machine. The senior Nanook has become UAF’s leading scorer with five goals and five assists. He netted two of those goals Friday in Alaska’s first 4-1 win of the weekend over Bowling Green. That single game total equals the entirety of his goal scoring for 2009-10, when he scored two goals in 29 games. Petovello is one tally shy of his career-high six goals from his sophomore year.
- Scooter Vaughan, goal scorer. Seriously. The senior Michigan defenseman has five goals through eight games. In 2008-09, his sophomore year, he had five points total, all assists. Last year, he netted his first two career goals.
And the guys who are establishing their presence with authority …
- Kevin Kapalka pushes Miami. The freshman Lake Superior goaltender made his first league start against the top team in the country – and survived. Kapalka made 28 saves in a 2-2 tie against the RedHawks Saturday.
- Notre Dame’s rookie class. Perhaps it’s because Notre Dame has so darned many of them, but it’s hard to ignore how good these Irish newcomers are. Seven Irish rookies have already contributed goals this season, all five Irish goals from ND’s series against WMU were scored by freshmen and Anders Lee (6-2—8) is on the fast track for CCHA Rookie of the Year. Lee is the first CCHA Rookie of the Month this season.
And the rest of the random things that struck me this week …
- Michigan State’s start. The Spartans are 3-0-3 to start the season, and each tie has been the first game of each of the three MSU two-game series. This is MSU’s best start since 1998, a season that saw the Spartans defeat the Buckeyes in double overtime to win the CCHA championship. Of course, that’s also the season that saw the Buckeyes defeat the Spartans in OT for a trip to the Frozen Four and an entirely different CCHA team capture national glory.
- Home sweet home. MSU is one of three teams that remains undefeated at home this season. All six of MSU’s games have been played at home. Miami and Notre Dame are both 4-0-0 at home.
- RedHawk monopoly. No, it’s not a game (but that would be fun). For this young season, however, only RedHawks have been worthy enough to be called CCHA Offensive Players of the Week: Alden Hirschfeld (Oct. 11), Carter Camper (Oct. 18), Andy Miele (Oct. 25) and Reilly Smith this week (Nov. 1). Camper, of course, is the league’s Player of the Month.
- One-goal games. Nine of the league’s 20 conference games this season have been decided by a goal or tied at the end of OT, and another one-goal game — OSU’s 5-3 win over FSU Oct. 23 — ended with an empty-netter. That’s half of the league’s conference games this season decided by one or fewer goals.
- Ohio State’s one-goal games. With the exception of the 4-0 win over Quinnipiac (Oct. 9) and 5-3 win over FSU Oct. 23, all of OSU’s games have been one-goal games. All of those games have been losses.