The new year is here and I already feel as though I’m behind. With Mott’s semester ending Dec. 22, the very quick holiday break – and delightful stay at Hacienda Weston in frigid (no kidding) Florida – and the quick return to classes at MCC, there have been a few things that I’ve missed in recent weeks.
(Long-time readers, of course, will have already inserted their own punch line about my having missed things.)
- Influential. Three CCHA coaches have been named to The Hockey News’ annual list of Top 40 under 40: Western Michigan head coach Jeff Blashill, Miami head coach Enrico Blasi and Michigan State associate head coach Brian Renfrew.
- Influential, too. CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos’ stock is rising. In THN’s annual list of Top 100 People of Power and Influence in the game, Anastos is No. 46. He was No. 89 last year.
- Irish honors. Notre Dame freshman forward T.J. Tynan was named the RBC Financial Group Player of the Month for December, an impressive follow-up to his November CCHA Rookie of the Month honors. Tynan had five goals and four assists in December. Tynan is also this week’s CCHA Rookie of the Week, for the second week running and fourth time this season. Next week, Tynan will split the atom – again – and show us how to julienne potatoes for perfect fries.
- Irish honors, too. Notre Dame freshman Anders Lee was named the CCHA Rookie of the Month for December as well as Hockey Commissioners’ Association Rookie of the Month for December. Lee led all freshman nationally in scoring in December with two goals and six assists. Next week, Lee will publish prize-winning metaphysical fiction and reinvent the drum circle.
- Freshmen, continued. Laker forwards Kyle Jean (5-2–7) and Kellan Lain (3-4–7) each recorded seven points in five exhibition games against Canadian university teams during LSSU’s holiday break.
- Freshman, continued, again. As the Lakers return to NCAA action this weekend, goaltender Kevin Kapalka sports a .925 save percentage, making him 13th among goalies nationally. The only CCHA goaltender outperforming Kapalka in this category is Ferris State’s Pat Nagle, the only league goalie among the top 10 national for save percentage (.930) and goals-against average (1.76).
- A milestone. FSU head coach Bob Daniels recorded his 300th career win when the Bulldogs beat the Falcons, 4-1, Friday in Bowling Green.
- Interesting stat. Ferris State has climbed to third in the CCHA standings on the strength of the Bulldog defense. No Bulldogs have reached the 10-goal mark this season, and FSU’s offense averages 2.39 goals per game, making it the 43rd most-effective offense in the country. Luckily for FSU, Nagle is strong, the Bulldog blueline is impressive and FSU’s overall team defense is second-to-none, literally. Ferris State has the top defensive in the country, allowing 1.96 goals per game on average.
- More interesting stats. Michigan and Notre Dame are the only CCHA teams among the top 10 in the PairWise Rankings as of this week; UM is seventh, and ND is tied for eighth with Wisconsin and Nebraska-Omaha. The third-best CCHA team in the PWR this week? Western Michigan, tied for 14th with Boston University. Alaska (t18), Miami (20), Ferris State (21) and Ohio State (25) are the other CCHA teams within shouting distance.
- Another milestone. Former Buckeye Zac Dalpe netted his first NHL goal on for the Carolina on New Year’s Day in the Hurricane’s 6-3 win over New Jersey. The goal was the game-winner. Incidentally, former Buckeye Rod Pelley scored for the Devils in that contest.
- Streaking. Two CCHA teams are streaking the right way, and they’re not who you might expect – and they meet this weekend in Kalamazoo. The Broncos are putting their five-game undefeated streak, fourth-best in the country, on the line when they welcome the Buckeyes this weekend. OSU brings its third-best, six-game win streak to Lawson Arena.
- Another statistical thingy. UM’s A.J. Treais is among 24 guys in the country – including other CCHA players Carter Camper (Miami), Dane Walters (WMU), Chad Billins (FSU) and Anders Lee (ND) – with three game-winning goals. Treais had both game-winners in the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament and was not named to the all-tourney team.
- And another. There are several CCHA players, non-marquee names, who have quietly reached the 10-goal plateau in a year where fewer guys than ever seem to have done so by midseason: MSU’s Brett Perlini (12), NMU’s Tyler Gron (12), OSU’s Sergio Somma (13) and Danny Dries (12), WMU’s Max Campbell.
- One more. UM’s Carl Hagelin became the first Wolverine this season to crack the 10-goal mark with his three against MSU last weekend.
- Finally, some heroes. You can nominate someone to be a hero of hockey for Michigan’s aptly titled “Hero of Hockey Day,” as part of Hockey Day in Michigan, which will be held on Jan. 29. This hockey hero is someone who has fulfilled an important role in the Michigan hockey community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Deadline for nominations is Jan. 21.