The landscape in the CCHA changed only a little over the weekend and with one weekend to go, the regular-season title and last two first-round byes are up for grabs.
Ferris State-Notre Dame. For the 10th time in program history, the Fighting Irish have reached 20 wins with a sweep over the Bulldogs, 3-2 and 5-2. The Irish never trailed in the weekend, leading 1-0 after the first in each game and the Irish had a three-goal third period Saturday to cap the weekend. Each team spread out its offense, as 11 different players accounted for the 12 goals scored on the weekend; Nick Larson had two goals for ND. Once again, Mike Johnson and Steven Summerhays split time in net for the Irish. The six points keep Notre Dame in first place with 56 points, one ahead of second-place Michigan, six ahead of third-place Miami.
Western Michigan-Michigan. The Wolverines kept pace with the Irish with a sweep of the visiting Broncos – but they needed extra time to get those six points. Friday’s 6-3 win was closer than it sounds, and Saturday’s 5-4 win came down to the wire for Michigan twice. Carl Hagelin scored the game-tying goal for UM at 19:20 and the game-winner with three seconds left in OT. The 5-4 win was a rare instance of the Wolverines having to battle from behind; Bronco Dane Walters scored 43 seconds into the contest and WMU led 3-2 after one on Walters’ second goal and another by Ben Warda. Hagelin’s game-winner came on the power play, a weak interference call on Luke Witkowski at 4:31 in overtime. It was the first time this season that the Broncos didn’t take a point on a weekend against a CCHA opponent, and they remain in fourth place with 41 points. Of Hagelin’s goals, UM head coach Red Berenson said, “It’s as good as it gets.” Berenson even smiled.
Northern Michigan-Bowling Green. The Wildcats took four points from the Falcons with a 2-2 tie and 3-2 win, and that was enough to make a move in the CCHA standings with a little help from the Irish and the Spartans. NMU is in sole possession of fifth place – for now – with 39 points, two behind Western Michigan. Phil Fox and Justin Florek had big weekends for the Wildcats; Fox had three goals and an assist, while Florek had a goal Friday and assisted on all three NMU markers Saturday. Reid Ellingson was in net both nights for the Wildcats. Both BG goals in Saturday’s 3-2 loss came unassisted at the start of the first and second periods, when Ryan Peltoma (1:22) and Bryce Williamson (2:07) scored, respectively. The Falcons outshot the Wildcats 10-3 in the final period of play. “I don’t know how some of those shots didn’t go in at the end,” said BG head coach Chris Bergeron. BGSU remains in last place.
Michigan State-Alaska. The Spartans and Nanooks split a pair in Fairbanks, with Alaska winning 4-1 Friday and MSU 6-2 on Saturday. Scott Enders had two goals in the UAF win, a game that the Nanooks led 4-0 until Daultan Leveille scored at 18:28 in the third. Andy Taranto had a goal in that game, too, and the only two scores for the Nanooks Saturday. A number of Spartans had multi-point games Saturday; Derek Grant led the goal scoring with two and added two assists. Drew Palmisano got the win for MSU, as he and Will Yanakeff split time in net. Scott Greenham was – of course – the goalie of record for the Nanooks for the series. Heading into the weekend, the Nanooks were knotted with the Lakers and Wildcats, each with 35 points. They’re still in sixth, but now they’re tied with FSU, and each team is just one point behind fifth-place NMU. The Spartans are in 11th place with 29 points.
Lake Superior State-Ohio State. The Lakers set a school record for single-season ties (nine) with Friday’s 1-1 decision before dropping Saturday’s game, 5-2, to the Buckeyes. LSSU took the extra shootout point, and the two points put the Lakers in eighth place in the CCHA with 37 points, two ahead of ninth-place Ohio State and one behind FSU and UAF, tied for sixth. The Buckeyes put 79 shots on net to the Lakers’ 56. Kevin Kapalka played both nights for LSSU, stopping 73. Cal Heeter was the goalie of record for the Buckeyes both nights, but senior Dustin Carlson – whom Heeter beat out for the starting job – played three minutes, 30 seconds in the third, stopping the only shot he faced. The Lakers led 2-0 before the second game was two minutes old on goals by Colin Campbell and Rick Schofield. Five Buckeyes scored in the game, with seniors Corey Toy, Sergio Somma, Danny Dries and Peter Boyd all scoring, and all but Boyd recording assists.
How did I do?
Last week: 5-3-2 (.600)
Season to date: 100-65-25 (.592)
Better than a coin toss – barely. As always, there’s Twitter to help vent your spleen as well: @paulacweston