Finally, Miami looked like the RedHawks of old, while elsewhere, Ferris State and Northern Michigan had solid and productive weekends.
Some thoughts on the past weekend’s play:
- Ferris State swept its weekend series against Bowling Green, and a pair of Bulldogs were honored this week by the CCHA. Senior forward Jordie Johnston, who was a +5 this weekend with two goals and two assists, was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. His classmate, Brett Wysopal was also +5 and scored two goals en route to being named the league’s Defenseman of the Week. The Bulldogs are quietly 8-2-0 — the same record as Lake Superior. The Lakers play a pair at Ferris this weekend in a matchup of two of the more surprising teams in college hockey so far this season.
- Northern Michigan looks pretty good for a team that hasn’t won in its last five games. Goaltender Reid Ellingson — the CCHA Goaltender of the Week — stopped all six shootout attempts against Notre Dame so that the Wildcats could pick up an extra pair of points during the weekend. NMU is 4-3-3 but is undefeated at home (and a pair of sellout crowds enjoyed the Wildcats’ strong defensive play against the Fighting Irish). This weekend, the Wildcats head to Columbus OH to face a team that hasn’t given up a goal in over 195 minutes of play. It’ll be a matchup of a pair of netminders — Ellingon and OSU’s Cal Heeter — averaging under 2.00 goals against per game thus far. Ellingson and Heeter are also two of the seven CCHA goaltenders currently in the top 15 in the nation in GAA. It’s been the Year of the Goaltender in the CCHA this season and perhaps not surprisingly, given the offensive talent that graduated from the league at the end of last year.
- Miami finally got on track with a pair of wins at Alaska. The offense still didn’t look explosive, with a pair of 2-1 wins, but the defense finally played better. And Cody Reichard looked like his former Hobey nominee self. The most notable item from the RedHawks’ weekend series, of course, was that Reichard started both games. He allowed just one goal in each game over the weekend while combining to make 53 saves on 55 shots for a .964 save percentage on the weekend. This weekend alone allowed Reichard to improve his save percentage from .870 to .902. Reichard’s classmate Connor Knapp — who has rotated time in net with Reichard for most of their careers in Oxford — didn’t see any game action. Knapp was pulled in last Saturday’s loss to Lake Superior after allowing four goals. Perhaps Enrico Blasi is ready to try riding Reichard for a while. We’ll find out this weekend in the big Miami/Michigan showdown in Oxford.
- Alaska’s two losses to Miami represented only the third time the Nanooks have been swept under Dallas Ferguson, now in his fourth year coaching in Fairbanks.
- Western Michigan really proved its worth on Friday, giving Andy Murray a win against Red Berenson in the first meeting of the decorated NHL coach and the decorated NCAA coach. WMU ended Michigan’s 20 game home winning streak in Ann Arbor — a streak that includes the Wolverines’ memorable win against Michigan State last season at the Big Chill at the Big House. The Wolverines came back with a strong victory the following night, but a split for the Broncos in Yost Ice Arena certainly gives Murray’s team an enormous amount of confidence now — if they didn’t have enough of it already.