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Goaltending in the CCHA and college hockey in general fascinates me this year.

  • Twenty-two goaltenders, nationally, enter this weekend’s play with save percentages of .920 or higher. Granted, that number is inflated by three goalies who haven’t seen significant time this season. At the end of then 2009-10 season, however, only nine goalies nationwide had save percentages of .920 or above.
  • At the end of the 2009-10 season, five of those nine goalies who ended the season with save percentages of .920 or above played in the CCHA: Brian Stewart (NMU, .927), Pat Nagle (FSU, .923), Riley Gill (WMU, .923), Connor Knapp (Miami, .921), Cody Reichard (.921). Four others – Alaska’s Scott Greenham (.919), MSU’s Drew Palmisano (.917), OSU’s Dustin Carlson (.916), FSU’s Taylor Nelson (.915) – finished among the top 20 goalies in the country.
  • Heading into the home stretch of the 2010-11 season, five goaltenders sport save percentages of .920 or above: Shawn Hunwick (UM, .923), Reid Ellingson (NMU, .922), Scott Greenham (Alaska, .922), Pat Nagle (FSU, .920), Cal Heeter (OSU, .920). In other words, at the end of 2009-10, 55.56 percent of goalies with save percentages of .920 or above played in the CCHA, while right now 22.73 percent of goalies with a .920 SV% or above play in the CCHA.
  • Hunwick, the CCHA goaltender with the highest save percentage, is No. 14 in that category nationally.
  • Also, at the end of the 2009-10 season, 45 percent of the top 20 goalies (for save percentage) in the country played in the CCHA. Currently, CCHA goalies comprise 25 percent of the top 20 goaltenders in the country.
  • Buckeye junior Cal Heeter (2.32 GAA) has played more minutes than any other goaltender in the nation (1497:11) and is second in the country in saves (666). Heeter has played all 25 of OSU’s games this season. The Buckeyes are seventh in the CCHA standings with 28 league points.

I hate to look ahead to the NCAA tournament, but this doesn’t seem to look good for the CCHA’s post-season chances. That having been said, three CCHA goaltenders had simply outstanding weekends.

  • Reid Ellingson helped the Wildcats sweep the Bulldogs with a .980 SV% on the weekend, stopping 63-of-65 shots he faced and earning him CCHA Goaltender of the Week honors.
  • Shawn Hunwick helped the Wolverines sweep the Nanooks, earning his third shutout Friday with a .961 SV% for the weekend.
  • Drew Palmisano stood on his head in MSU’s 7-3 win over Miami Friday after finding out during warmups that he’d be starting. The Spartans were shut out by the RedHawks the following night, but Palmisano stopped 43-of-47 in the contest and 85-of-93 on the weekend for a .914 SV%.
  • Miami junior Connor Knapp, who allowed two goals on nine shots (.778 SV%) in relief of Cody Reichard in the RedHawks’ 7-4 Friday loss had an impressive rebound with the shutout Saturday, stopping all 26 shots he faced. It was Knapp’s second shutout of the season, the eighth of his career.

Something that doesn’t fascinate me nearly as much as goaltending is the shootout – ironic, since its outcome is so dependent on the goaltender. As long-time readers know, I hate the thought that actual points are awarded for something that has nothing to do with the game that was played for 65 minutes. I also have no problem with a tie. I am, I fear, in the minority.

Here are some shootout tidbits, though, that you may find interesting.

  • Western Michigan and Lake Superior played back-to-back ties this past weekend, resulting in them splitting the two subsequent shootouts and setting a new league record for number of rounds in a shootout at seven with 13 shooters. Saturday’s 4-4 tie was the record-setter. The Broncos were also involved in the previous record, a six-round shootout with 10 shooters against Ohio State Feb. 20, 2010.
  • Of the 13 shooters in that record-setting game, only one scored: Lake Superior’s Kyle Jean. Jean beat Western goaltender Jerry Kuhn in the seventh round, giving the Lakers the even three-point split on the weekend. LSSU’s Kevin Kapalka stopped all six shooters he faced.
  • There have been four other weekend regular-season series involving back-to-back ties since the CCHA adopted the shootout at the start of the 2008-09 season, and the Lakers played in two of those series: NMU at LSSU, Dec. 5-6, 2008 (NMU won both shootouts); FSU at Miami, Nov. 13-14, 2009 (FSU won both shootouts); FSU vs. WMU, Feb. 26-27, 2010 (FSU won in Big Rapids; WMU won the following night in Kalamazoo); BGSU at LSSU, Dec. 3-4, 2010 (LSSU won both shootouts).
  • The Wolverines have played two games that have gone to shootouts since the rule was enacted and have benefitted from neither. Jan. 16, 2010, FSU won the shootout following a 2-2 tie. Oct. 29, 2010, UAF won the shootout following a 3-3 tie.
  • Miami and Ohio State participated in the first regular-season shootout in CCHA history, on the opening day of regular-season play of the 2008-09 season (Oct. 10, 2008). Following a 3-3 tie in Columbus, the shootout went to three rounds with the Buckeyes prevailing. OSU’s Corey Elkins was the first CCHA player to score a shootout goal, and Buckeye Joseph Palmer was the first CCHA goaltender to win a league shootout. Miami’s Cody Reichard was in the net at the other end in his first game of his Division I career. “The shootout was exciting for the fans,” said then-OSU head coach John Markell. “I didn’t expect it this early in the season.” Said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi, It doesn’t feel like a loss because we got a point.”
  • Ed_crumbpacker

    I don’t like ties, but I don’t like shoot-outs either. How about a 5-on-5, 5-min sudden death overtime, without goaltenders. Players would not be allowed in the crease to prevent a player from acting as an defacto unpadded goaltender, however they could station someone in front of the crease to prevent the easy rink wide dump goal that you sometimes get when the losing team has pulled their goalie.

  • Casey Todt

    I’d like to see what they do in soccer. Lets have two (5) five minute periods with the second going to 4v4 and then the shootout!

  • RamboWildcat

    That is why there should be NO polls until November 1.  Let the kids iron out the details on the ice the first month!  Then have a poll and it would be very, very interesting!!  What everyone is calling an upset in week one, may actually turn out to be nothing but a solid win. 

  • kJay

    “our columnists bring you a new Monday feature: Three things we learned over the weekend” 

  • Anonymous

    How does this idea sound?

    “The Land of 10,000 Lakes Pond Hockey Classic” between the Gophers and say…UMD on a pond with portable bleaches surrounding it?  Nostagia at it’s best, and certainly better than those lame outdoor stadium games in which fans can’t see squat!!

    This thing could have some legs and gain National Publicity big time.  What do you think you movers and shakers out there?  Let’s make this happen! 

    NBC sports would eat this up big time with the built in marketing (10K lakes/pond hockey), and the nostalgia of playing hockey on pond when we were kids.  I’d buy a ticket for sure.  Hope someone can make it happen. 

    • FrozenBulldog

      A Minnesota classic including UMD, UM, Bemidji, Mankato, and SCSU is rumored to already be in the works.

  • Suture

    I Don’t know, I’m a life-long Sioux fan and I am panicking.  I have never seen our team look this devoid of potential stars-in-the-making.  This Parker kid looks nice, but losing Miller was a HUGE loss for this team.  I agree that UND seems to piece things together after Christmas, but I am not so sure this year.  Have a feeling the old pride is taking a few lumps this year. Having Dell coming in overweight didn’t help matters….what are these kids thinking?  Lastly, I want to throw out another belated congratulations to Scotty Sandelin and the Bulldogs, this was very deserved for a very hard working and talented team with a great coach.