Christmas came early for the CCHA in the form of three nonconference wins. Northern Michigan beat Michigan Tech, 6-2, and Western Michigan swept No. 12 Union, 2-1 and 3-1.
The Wildcats netted four second-period goals in their win, two from sophomore defenseman Wade Epp, his first two collegiate tallies. Epp told USCHO arena reporter Daver Karnosky that he hadn’t even realized that he’d scored his first goal until his teammates grabbed the puck for him. “To chip in offensively feels great,” said Epp.
Epp also has four assists through 18 games and is +1 in overall play.
In the Broncos’ sweep of the No. 12 Dutchmen, senior Jerry Kuhn earned both wins, stopping 41 shots. Freshman Shane Berschbach had both goals in the 2-1 win.
While I have nothing against the Dutchmen, I’ve found it amusing that Union (10-5-3, 3-2-1 ECAC) has been ranked consistently this season while Western Michigan (10-6-4, 4-5-3-2 CCHA) has been struggling for recognition. Full disclosure: In last week’s poll, I voted Union No. 16, WMU No. 20. This Bronco sweep feels like a little validation. I’m sure that it feels even better than that for the Broncos, who end the first half with three consecutive wins.
Northern’s win over Tech helps the Wildcats end the season on a high note, as the Wildcats had lost the previous Saturday in a two-game split against Notre Dame. NMU also bookends its first half with games against NTU; the Wildcats opened their season with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Huskies in the Superior Showcase.
There were no picks for this past weekend. There will be for the various holiday tournaments. I’ll update my first-half picks percentage with that blog.
You can catch me during the holiday break on the CCHA blog. The weekly columns resume the first week in January.