Hey! I’m 2-for-2 in Thursday night picks!
Last Weekend (including Thursday): 9-6-2
Season to date: 24-13-3
Win percentage: .705
When your pick percentage is as stunning as mine is over the course of a season, you cling to the little things.
The CCHA’s 41st season continues with five conference series and one nonconference game. This week’s action began Thursday night with MSU’s 3-0 win over OSU. For my take on that series, see yesterday’s quick pick post. I will tell you here that I called MSU to win last night and OSU to win tonight.
Each CCHA series previewed here is single venue, Friday-Saturday. All games start at 7:05 p.m. local time except the UM-NMU series, which begins at 7:35 p.m.
The single RPI-ND game is tonight at 7:35 p.m., and it’s the inaugural game in Notre Dame’s new home, the Compton Family Ice Arena.
A full slate of CCHA action and the Irish have a new arena. I’m giddy.
BGSU at LSSU Each team swept last weekend — but only the Lakers can claim six points in the CCHA standings going into the series. The Falcons beat Alabama-Huntsville on the road, 2-1 and 3-0, earning junior goaltender Andrew Hammond (1.47 GAA, .931 SV%) his third career shutout. Falcon freshman Ryan Carpenter (3-3–6) is tied for first nationally among rookies in points per game. The Lakers swept Michigan State at home, 5-4 and 3-2; LSSU rookie Chris Ciotti (1-4–5) is right behind Carpenter in the same category. The teams were 1-1-2 last season with the Lakers picking up the extra point in each shootout. They’ll probably split — and I’ll probably call it the wrong way. LSSU 3-1, BGSU 2-1
Miami at FSU The RedHawks split on the road against Colgate last weekend, 4-3 and 3-2 (OT). Junior Reilly Smith recorded a hat trick in Friday’s game, the second of his career in his first game of the season. As usual, seniors Connor Knapp (2.45 GAA, .918 SV%) and Cody Reichard (3.52, .848) split time in net with Reichard earning the win. The Bulldogs shut out Rensselaer twice at home last weekend, 4-0 and 2-0. Freshman C.J. Motte (0.50, .977) and senior Taylor Nelson (1.01, .952) each earned a win. Juniors Kyle Bonis (5-1–6) and Travis Ouellette (5-0–5) have the scoring touch early this season. In early November last season, the Bulldogs took five of six possible points from Miami in Big Rapids. This series is tied all-time 20-20-9 in Ewigleben Arena. Watch them split and me call it the wrong way. FSU 3-2, Miami 3-1
UM at NMU Last week, the Wolverines beat St. Lawrence 10-3 on Thursday night — and that was enough for them to capture the top spot in the USCHO poll. That win was UM’s fourth straight, giving the Wolverines their first 4-0 start since 2005-06. Senior Shawn Hunwick (1.36 GAA, .950 SV%) is the UM starter in net; senior Luke Glendening — who had a hat trick against the Saints — leads UM in goals, but three other Wolverines have three goals each. Because it’s early this is an inflated stat, but it’s worth noting that Michigan is averaging 6.0 goals per game so far, second in the nation behind Minnesota. The Wildcats swept St. Cloud at home, 5-2 and 3-2, with senior Reid Ellingson (1.92, .931) and sophomore Jared Coreau (2.53, .909) each picking up a win. Senior Justin Florek is off to a fast start with four goals. The Wolverines are 9-1-0 against the Wildcats in the last 10 meetings in Marquette. Last season, UM swept NMU in Marquette, 3-2 and 5-0, Feb. 25-26. That shut out was the last regular-season game for both teams, and Hunwick took himself out of the contest with six minutes left to give then-senior Bryan Hogan a share of that win. UM 4-2, 3-2
WMU at UAF Last weekend, the Broncos traveled to New York State and tied ranked Union twice, 2-2 and 3-3. Senior Greg Squires (2-2–4) had both goals in the first contest, the first multi-goal game of his career. Squires’ two goals are five shy of his season total last year. Junior Nick Pisellini (2.90 GAA, .919 SV%) was in net both nights. The Nanooks beat Mercyhurst, 5-2, and Nebraska-Omaha, 4-1, in the Brice Goal Rush — but lost the hardware to rival Alaska-Anchorage on a goal differential. Junior Nik Yaremchuk is off to a fast start for the Nanooks with four goals in four games, five shy of his season total last year. Junior Steve Thompson (2.00, .913) won Friday in his first game since Jan. 23, 2010, giving workhorse senior Scott Greenham (1.67, .926) his first break since then. Greenham picked up the win against UNO. The Broncos must feel like they’re always going to Alaska; it’s their fifth trip in five years to Fairbanks. The Nanooks are 6-2-2 in their last 10 home contests against WMU; last year, though, the Broncos took five of six possible points from the Nanooks in the Carlson Center with a 2-2 tie and shootout point Jan. 7 and a 2-0 win the next night. UAF 3-2, WMU 3-2
RPI at ND
Last weekend, Notre Dame hosted Ohio State to close out the Joyce Center era, winning 5-2 Friday before losing their last-ever game in their old barn Saturday, 4-3 — creating a strange bit of trivia for the Buckeyes, believe it or not. When the Buckeyes ended their tenancy in the OSU Ice Arena in December 1998, they did so with two wins against the Irish; that means that OSU won the closing game in each program’s old venue before each moved into a shiny new arena. Anyway, last weekend the Irish found themselves coming from behind in both games. Junior Mike Johnson (2.46 GAA, .900 SV%) had the win Friday and was in net Saturday for ND’s three third-period goals; the Irish did not look good in front of sophomore Stephen Summerhays (4.61, .821). T.J. Tynan (2-7–9) and Anders Lee (5-3–8) lead ND in scoring so far this season.
The Engineers have scored four goals in four games this season — but they’ve been shut out three times. Last weekend, FSU blanked them in Big Rapids. The problem isn’t between the pipes: junior Bryce Merriam (1.68, .944) and freshman Scott Diebold (1.03, .950) and the RPI defense have combined to allow two goals per game on average. These teams last met in Tampa Dec. 29, 2007, a 3-1 win for the Irish in the third-place game of the Lightning College Hockey Classic.
It’s the first game in Notre Dame’s beautiful new building, which you can read about in Ryan O’Leary’s Compton Center story from earlier this week.
Pick: ND 3-0