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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.

Happy holidays!

  • cis429

    Go Broncos! Let’s make a run at the tourney!

  • Dmuljo

    Paula, what is NTU? I also didn’t realize that NMU’s season had ended, “on a high note”…To think that you teach the young minds of Lower Michigan…can you see Russia from there?

  • Davyd83

    Hey Paula, Wade Epp is a redshirt FRESHMAN, not a sophomore. And is NMU’s season really ended now?

  • FleasOf1000Camels

    As usual, Paula is long on flowery, feel-good prose, but lacking ability to proof read and get facts right. NTU??? Sorry to hear that NMU’s season is over…what are the rest of the CCHA teams going to do with all those ‘open’ dates?

  • Guest

    Does anybody know why Yale is 1st in PWR yet they didn’t even win their own conference?

    • Looking at the individual comparisons, it boils down to two things: Yale has the best RPI of all TUCs and has a very strong record against TUCs (12-3-0). This gives them two points pretty much right off the bat against every other team. For a team to win the comparison they’d need to have a better record against common opponents and a one game advantage in head to head, which no one has.

      • Guest

        Thanks for they reply but I’m just curious because looking at the comparison UND v Yale. UND in 1st in RPI to 2nd in Yale. Yale has better win % in TUC but UND’s entire schedule has been against TUC which is 35 games compared to only 15 for Yale. Either way it doesn’t really matter too much since more than likely they both will be 1 seeds in the tournament anyway.

        • SiouxAlumDenver

          Yeah its a dumb system. UND loses the comparison simply based on percentage, and they lose the common opponent because they spilt with CC and Yale beat them. I would guess the NCAA might, and hopefully, sees the SOS for UND and puts them as the number one overall seed. But UND would still need to do well in the Final Five and not lose to a weak opponent.

          • Guest

            Regardless, Yale will play where they want to be. Over in Brideport or whatever that dumb uck town is over there!

        • Guest

          except number 1 overall should in theory give you the Atlantic Hockey champion as a first round opponent and as we all are aware, this will not be a TUC (i.e. one of the top 15 teams in the rankings) and could present a much easier opportunity to advance.

          • jason

            I believe TUC aren’t just the top 15…bemidji is still a TUC and they are t29.

  • Scott

    And doesn’t Pairwise also utilize head to head results? Kind of lazy writing which I guess shouldn’t come as a surprise with the WCHA bloggers.

  • Steveo

    Minnesota does this every year. They refuse to play any non conference road series against anybody. The only time they will play a contender on the national seen is if they do it for the money against other Big Ten opponents at a so called neutral site like the Xcel energy center or Target Center. They even pay off league teams like Mankato and St. Cloud to give up regular season home games to play at their preferred neutral site. Look up their schedules under this administration and they play 75% of their games, non-conference, regular season, and playoffs WCHA and NCAA right in the Twin Cities proper.

  • tom

    anybody have final five tickets for sale?

    • Scott

      Just wait for the delusional Gopher fans to unload them in a couple of weeks.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think ND has anything to play for here, way from home, in what will probably be a blase’ environment. I would not be shocked at all for MT to come of this weekend with at at least a point. Trap games.

  • LuckyLou

    If UW was to take 3 pts. from CC and SCSU swept the pioneers……wouldn’t the Huskies have home ice?

  • Anonymous

    UNO leads the nation in shutouts (6) and their goaltending is “average”?

    Plus, Faulkner has taken a shutout into the 3rd period of 12 games (more than 1/3 of UNO’s entire schedule), and UNO’s goaltending is “average”?

    Right.

    How about, if we had better defensemen and took a few less penalties we’d have the best goaltending in the NCAA? That sounds a lot more like it to me.

    If Faulkner isn’t the WCHA goaltender of the year, there’s something really wrong here.

    • Saara

      Faulkner won’t be goaltender of the year because sorry but the WCHA doesn’t have that award. We have a “goaltending champion” which goes to the goalie with the best goals against average in league play, and it’s looking like that will be Aaron Dell. So sorry. Faulkner will have to settle for *maybe* one of the all-wcha awards.

    • Omaha

      As a UNO fan, I almost made the same post. But his GAA is 2.50 and save percentage is 91.1. Those are fair numbers but there are 6 other WCHA goalies ahead of him in the same categories and having a similar amount of games. So that’s middle of the pack and does not equate to goaltender of the year. Don’t get me wrong, he can steal games. I’ve seen it numerous times this year. And if he gets on a roll, UNO has a good chance to do some damage.

  • siouxfanforlife

    Why is it that all season long they don’t give tech a chance in heck to win anything, but all of a sudden they are predicting a win against the Sioux in one of the upcoming two weekends? I understand they beat us two years ago in the Ralph, but I firmly believe that this year the Sioux are better than they were two years ago, and at the same time I think Tech is worse than two years ago. True, upsets can always happen, but I think the Sioux are just too deep of a team and playing too well this time of year for that to happen. Long story short, I’m wondering why they picked a team that is #1 in every poll and #2 in the pairwise to be one of the few teams to drop one against Tech?

  • Mefishguy43

    i think that pairwise crap is bullshit…maine doesnt loose at all this weekend,, bu cc,rpi all loose at least 1 game..and maine drops in pairwise..yeah it was umass but at their home..

  • bigskyvikes

    I dont care, just cant wait to get there, hockey hockey hockey!!! GO SIOUX!!

  • Jeffffyb

    CC played and won more games against tougher competition. That’s why they’re ranked higher than the Gophers. Check out the Pairwise Rankings.

  • Guest

    This article would be better if they knew the name of BSU’s coach, it’s Tom Serratore…Frank is his brother.