SHARE

These series that begin Thursday are killing me. Some weeks, there just isn’t enough coffee.

So far, I’m 2-for-2 on Thursdays this season, but given that there are three games tonight, I’m sure my brief and uncharacteristic flirtation with perfection will come to an end. Here’s how I’ve done so far.

Last Week: 4-5-2
Season to date: 28-18-5 (.598)

I don’t expect it to get any better. Neither should you.

This Week

There are six series this week. Three begin tonight; three begin tomorrow. It’s a full slate of CCHA action with one nonconference offering. Here’s a look at the three that begin tonight, with two series that provide an interesting early season glimpse at reversals of fortune.

The Friday-Saturday series picks will be posted tomorrow morning. All times are local.

FSU at UM, 7:35 p.m.

Someone voted Ferris State the top team in the country in this week’s USCHO poll. It wasn’t me, but after the Bulldogs swept Miami last weekend, I can certainly understand why. FSU is being spurred on by the hottest goaltending duo in college hockey right now, freshman C.J. Motte (.333 GAA, .986 SV%) and senior Taylor Nelson (1.34, .943). These gents have split time in net and allowed five goals in six undefeated games; two of Motte’s three wins have been shutouts. What’s nice for the Bulldogs is that they’re also getting some offense, with two juniors — Kyle Bonis and Travis Ouellette — responsible for 11 of FSU’s 25 goals.

Michigan, however, is no stranger to scoring this season. Averaging five goals per game as a team, the Wolverines have the third-best scoring offense in the country; nine Wolverines have already posted at least two goals through six games, led by juniors Lindsay Sparks and A.J. Treais and senior Luke Glendening. Senior Shawn Hunwick (1.52, .944) is sporting the best numbers of his career early in the season. Last weekend, the Wolverines lost to Northern Michigan before tying the Wildcats and earning the shootout point.

Picks: The Wolverines were 3-0-1 against the Bulldogs last season and have won six of the last eight meetings. This should be a battle royale — but (let’s hope) without the antics witnessed in Marquette last Saturday night. UM 4-2, FSU 3-2

LSSU at Miami, 7:35 p.m.

The Bulldogs are near the top of the CCHA standings while the Wolverines are gracing the bottom half in the early going. That’s one of the league’s early reversals of fortune. This series represents another.

With a record of 3-1-0 in CCHA play, Lake Superior State is currently the top team in the league. After having been swept by FSU last weekend, Miami is 0-2-0 in conference play (and a troubling 2-4-0 overall) and in the bottom spot in the standings this week.

The Lakers split at home against Bowling Green last weekend but allowed just two goals in the process. Allowing just 1.83 goals per game through six contests, LSSU has one of the nation’s tightest defenses in October. Sophomore Kevin Kapalka (1.83, .926) is as steady as they come in net. The blue line is led by junior defenseman Zach Trotman, who is second in scoring to sophomore Kyle Jean — who with four goals has three more than he scored in 38 games last season.

The RedHawks have now lost three in a row, and Saturday’s 2-0 loss to FSU was the first time Miami’s been shut out since early January. Miami’s 2-4 start is its worst since 2003-04, when the RedHawks began the season 1-4-1. Uncharacteristically, Miami’s offense is one of the most sluggish in the nation, averaging 2.33 goals per game (39th). Junior Reilly Smith leads the RedHawks with four of Miami’s 14 goals. Part of Miami’s woes stems from its young offense; six rookie forwards have seen action so far, with five playing regularly. Connor Knapp and Cody Reichard have split time in net, but so far Knapp’s numbers (2.31, .916) are measurably better than Reichard’s (3.36, .857) — but each has a win.

Picks: The RedHawks were 3-0-1 against the Lakers last season, outscoring LSSU 20-6 in those contests. The one tie came in Oxford Oct. 30, 2010. Miami 2-1, LSSU 3-2

UAF at OSU, 7:05 p.m.

Alaska is making its first trip of the season to the Lower 48 after earning a single point at home last weekend with a loss to Western Michigan followed by a tie. That was a come-from-behind tie — third-period goals by Nik Yaremchuk and Andy Taranto — to help the Nanooks to a rather remarkable stat; UAF has earned points in ever CCHA series except for two during the past four seasons. With five goals Yaremchuk, a junior forward, leads UAF in scoring and the country in game-winning goals (three), and he’s just four goals short of his career-best nine in 38 games from a season ago. Senior Scott Greenham (2.17, .909) still holds court in the UAF net.

Ohio State earned a road split with Michigan State last weekend, losing Thursday before Friday’s win. The Buckeyes have split every weekend so far this season, with another conference win against Notre Dame two weeks ago. Freshman Ryan Dzingel is one of the Buckeyes to watch — and not just because of his golden locks. Dzingel, a freshman, has three goals (two game winners) and is among the nation’s rookie scoring leaders in points per game. Two other Buckeyes — sophomore Chris Crane and freshman Matt Johnson — also have three goals to their credit, Crane’s total being one shy from his output in 37 games last year. Crane is noticeable on the ice. Senior Cal Heeter (2.89, .907) is solid.

Picks: The Nanooks were 3-0-1 against the Buckeyes last season; the tie was played in Columbus Nov. 26, 2010. There was also a 1-0 OT win in Fairbanks (Jan. 28, 2011) in which Taranto scored the game winner. In the other two games, UAF outscored OSU 11-4. OSU 3-2, UAF 4-2

Call me

Well … so to speak. Email (paula.weston@uscho.com), tweet (@paulacweston) or comment below. Please engage in civil conversation, with me and with each other. Niceness counts.

  • Alex

    Hmmm…. Ferris State 6-0-0… combined record of the 3 opponents they have played? 3-12-0.

    Maybe we should pump the brakes on them huh?

    • Upfan

      Except that Ferris is responsible for 6 of those losses, making the opponents remaining record 3-6.  Not stellar by any means, but a slightly different picture.

  • RYAN HOFFMAN14

    Paula what is the deal with the officals in the ccha? Wilkins needs more practice and quite frankly might not even be able to handle the college level, go back to juniors.

  • Union Alum ’97

    What about RPI/Union on Tuesday night?

    • Joshua Boyd

      We’ll see what happens this weekend first… and sorry about nicknames, folks. That’s what I get for writing late. 

  • Rmf194278

    Cornell is the Big Red, not RPI…

    • He’s new here. He’ll figure out that RPI is actually the Big Cherry soon enough.

  • Sshablak

    colgate has won two of it’s last four, not one !

  • Colgatehockey58

    hey josh in the colgate’s last four games, they actually had two wins, not one. Do some research, before you embarrass yourself

  • Anonymous

    I have a heard time believing that Cornell’s going to come out of this weekend only with 2 points and will get them at Dartmouth. Of course thats basically what happened last weekend, but I’m thinking if the Red only get 2 they’re coming from Lynah East. That said I’m expecting 3 points this weekend and hoping for 4!

    • Guest

      I see Cornell’s weekend going the other way: beating Harvard, losing to Dartmouth.  And I’m not just saying that now that I see Cornell is up 3-1 in the 2nd.

  • Nardospam

    Come on, Josh: if you’re going to pick Harvard over Cornell in Bright, don’t do it because you think Harvard has some sort of home-ice advantage. Have you BEEN to one of those games? It’s at least 2/3 red!

  • Critsports

    Patience, butterfly????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Does anyone proof read this stuff?

  • Christopher Bangs

    I think its “patience grasshopper”  Cornell is looking like they are back on form after a disappointing season last year.  4 points on the road at Harvard and Dartmouth, plus the win against Yale gives them a lot of creed early in the season.  Lets go RED!

  • Christopher Bangs

    I hear you David.  Probably because the Big Red had a bit of a disappointing season last year.  But to call them a “rising force” is a bit ignorant considering the success of the program over the decades.  They look good this season so far though.  Nice to see Shafer’s team nationally ranked again. 
    On another note – I still remember your 59 save performance against Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament a few years back.  That was probably the most impressive game I have seen by a goalie (college or pro) period.  Hope life is treating you well Mr. McKee

  • Confucius

    Confucius say, beware of the Beavers… dooby dooby do !

  • Anonymous

    CC has been swamped with injuries to multiple players and has lost the net besides. I don’t see them sweeping UNO. I don’t think its impossible its not the other way around. Some of those guys are coming back after being out this weekend are going to make a go of it at less than 100%. Just need to keep the Schwartz’s away form the net. That said, UNO’s biggest weakness this year on a very young team has been on defense. We’ll see.

  • wchaHockey

    “Five weeks ago this pair could not have been further apart in the league standings yet the Mavericks are 6-4 in that stretch while UMD is 5-4-1. “Brian, this statement confuses me. So the Mavs are now one point closer to the Dogs in the standings? I’m sure you were trying to show that the Mavs were playing a little better then they had been and the Dogs are finally losing some games… but really… how long did you have to write this? You couldn’t come up with something better?

    • Journalists?

      Don’t you know that Brian and Tyler only care about the Gophers?  My question is why do we need both of them?  They seem to write identical “expert” opinions every week, which basically recite box scores and stats that all of us already have access to.  Also, why does the WCHA, the premier league in college hockey (for the time being), get the two USCHO writers who seem to have the least knowledge/interest in the league and college hockey?  Maybe comparing them to Paula from the CCHA isn’t fair.  What do you all think?

      • GeauxSioux

        I think if you hate their writing so much, you should apply for their job citing your superior ability to extrapolate info from games. Its college hockey man, not college football. Be happy a strictly college hockey website exists. However, I do, sometimes, give a B- for editorial effort.

  • HUGE HOCKEY FAN

    Hopes everyone has a great weekend of hockey.  With the exception of Michigan Tech of course. 

    Go Sioux!!!  (I can still say that right?)

  • Scott Reed

    12-4-1 in the last 17 for the Sioux how are we not number one in the country???  Everybody else has had a chance up there… especially with the obvious bias towards the Sioux from everybody in the country.  Its an outrage!!! Who are these clowns that do the voting.

    • Duluth06ChE

      ummm….because UND isn’t that good and can’t score goals?

      • Scott Reed

        sarcasm is lost on the weak minded… don’t feel bad… I never use to pick up on it either

      • Fan Man

         Outscored you last weekend!  Boom take that lol…

    • WCHAFAN

      How about because they are in fifth place in their own conference…  How is the fifth place WCHA team the best in the nation?  This is exactly the kind of ignorant comment that promotes the other fans in the league to pick on Sue fans…  UND may be playing better than they did in October, but the season has still been medicore at best.  They will not deserve a number one ranking unless they slide into the NCAA’s and find a way to win it all.  While anything is possible, (See Bowling Green 1984) I think you should forget about any #1’s this season and come back down to the real world the rest of us live in. 

      Way to go future WCHAers Ferris State!

      • nogofer

        See Scott Reed’s comment above…

      • Scott Reed

        wow, I literally had to pick myself up off the floor, I fell out of my chair laughing so hard, I can just picture the outrage and you slamming on your keyboard as you type, throwing out explictives. Sarcasm…Have you heard of it? You might do your blood preasure a favor by learing to recognize it.  Look at my reply to Duluth06Che, which was before you wrote your post.

  • Eddy

    I wonder how many times Woog will say the Beavers basically suck in tonight’s pregame show.

  • Scott Reed

    Bulldog sweep at home, gophers split on the road losing friday night, UND/denver split.  that puts the dogs and gophers tied at 36 and denver at 32 and a tie for 4th at 29. That leaves a final weekend with all 3 places in the conference up for grabs.  Its going to be a great couple fo weeks for WCHA hockey! 

  • SIOUXFAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    you are all missing the most important point….and that would be the Sioux winning the WCHA Final 5 and then a national championship. this team is eerily similar to the 2000 championship team…lol im just being a goof but the similarities are astounding. good luck to whoever plays them come playoff time

    • beefheart

      Now THAT is funny stuff. And good luck to you and yourn as well.