1. Crowded at the top
With Minnesota State and Bowling Green splitting in a matchup between the top two teams in the conference and Michigan Tech sweeping its series against Lake Superior State, just two points separate the Mavericks from the Falcons and the Huskies in the race for the MacNaughton Cup. Each has three league series remaining. Minnesota State has gone 1-2-3 against its closest competitors this year. Bowling Green is 2-3-3 against Tech and MSU, and Michigan Tech is 3-1-2 in those games. Tech is on an eight-game unbeaten streak (5-0-3) and has just one loss (to Michigan) since getting swept at home by Alaska Anchorage Dec. 4-5.
2. Bulldogs, Wildcats sweep
Ferris State and Northern Michigan scored their first sweeps of the season this weekend. The Bulldogs remained in fourth place and three points behind Bowling Green and Michigan Tech, winning twice at Alaska. Gerald Mayhew’s goal 15 seconds into overtime on Saturday night secured the sweep helped Ferris extend its unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2). Meanwhile in Marquette, the Wildcats beat Alaska Anchorage twice to stay in the home-ice chase. The Wildcats are four points behind Ferris but have two games in hand.
3. No. 1 stars
There were some excellent individual efforts over the weekend, starting in Mankato on Friday night. MSU senior Bryce Gervais scored two short-handed goals during in the same penalty and also set the school record for career shorties. He now has nine, three this season. In Houghton, Tech goalie Jamie Phillips was a Lakers penalty shot with 55 seconds remaining on Saturday from scoring back-to-back shutouts. He had 31 saves o Friday. Teammate Max Vallis, a senior playing in his eighth and ninth games of the season, scored three goals in the series and was named Winter Carnival MVP. Ferris State freshman goalie Darren Smith continued his stellar play with 51 saves, including a 31-save shutout on Friday. Northern Michgan’s Dominik Shine had a two-goal, two-assist weekend.