From Ohio State’s two-game sweep of Michigan to Notre Dame’s thrilling overtime win against Boston College… what a weekend in the CCHA. As we head into Thanksgiving, here are some items worth mentioning:
- I got a first hand look at Miami, as the Red Hawks hosted Bowling Green over the weekend. On Halloween, Miami was struggling and at the bottom of the CCHA standings. Since? The RedHawks are unbeaten in six games, and senior goaltender Cody Reichard has started all six of those contests, seemingly taking over the No. 1 netminder position — a position that had been notably shared by Reichard and classmate Connor Knapp for the past three years.
- While Reichard has played better — his performance in Saturday’s 4-4 tie against Bowling Green notwithstanding — it was clear that the real impetus for change in Oxford over the past three weeks has been the play of Miami’s freshman forwards. In particular, Austin Czarnik, Tyler Biggs, Blake Coleman, and Jimmy Mullin electrified the crowd at Miami’s Goggin Ice Center and are playing confidently — and that’s been the most obvious change in the Miami team today compared to the Miami team in October. The shot totals have crept up, and so have the goals (as Miami reached the 4-goal mark for the first time this weekend). In addition, all six of the RedHawks’ defensemen are upperclassmen, and the duo of Will Weber and Chris Wideman is without question the most intimidating defensive pairing in the CCHA.
- Bowling Green rookie Ryan Carpenter was also impressive over the weekend and provided plenty of poise for the Falcons as they came back from one-goal deficits on four different occasions on Saturday night. Carpenter had three points and is one of just 10 freshmen in the nation averaging at least a point per game this season.
- Notre Dame’s stunning new Compton Family Ice Arena was showcased to a national audience Friday night, and more importantly, the Fighting Irish earned the victory — in thrilling (if not shocking) fashion, with Bryan Rust scoring a last-second goal against Boston College’s Parker Milner. Here’s the video. The Irish, who have already played four overtime games in the month of November, have four consecutive one goal wins — all part of their nine-game unbeaten streak that has T.J. Tynan, Anders Lee, and co. in second place in the current CCHA standings. Tynan, a Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick, has 21 points already, tied for most in the nation.
- Much more to come this week on CHN about Ohio State, but the Buckeyes — behind senior netminder Cal Heeter — are in first place in the league after sweeping Michigan over the weekend. And this was the weekend where the Buckeyes really had something to prove. Though they skated into Yost Ice Arena with a six game winning streak, those wins came against Alaska (one win in 10 league games thus far), Alabama-Huntsville (the only winless team in the nation), and Northern Michigan (under .500 and struggling mightily despite plenty of senior leaders on the team…and now in a whole world of trouble). But Ohio State responded with its biggest pair of wins of the year, with Heeter setting the tone on Friday night (29 saves, 1 goal allowed). And the red-hot Buckeyes will be named the CHN Tea–… wait, I’ve already said too much.