Archive for the 'CCHA' Category

CCHA Wrap, Oct 18

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

A full slate of CCHA regular season matchups highlights the upcoming weekend of play, and Notre Dame will christen the new Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend with a weekend series against Rensselaer.

For now though, a quick look back at this past weekend’s action:

Thanks to weekend sweeps by Alaska (Scott Greenham returned to net as expected on Saturday, making 31 saves against Nebraska-Omaha),  Bowling Green (your undefeated Bowling Green Falcons), Ferris State (ready to put its 4-0 record on the line this weekend against Miami) and Northern Michigan (eight goals over the weekend, eight goal scorers), the CCHA as a league combined for a 10-1-2 record (.846 winning percentage) against nonconference opponents.

The only blemish? Miami‘s Saturday night overtime loss to Colgate, as the RedHawks continue their inconsistent play to start the season. With consecutive weekend splits against Bemidji State and Colgate, Miami hasn’t looked like a top tier CCHA team thus far. (more…)

The Midwest Coast Bias: Saturday morning, October 15

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

First of all, check out the recently-published CCHA Preview and CCHA Watch List here on CHN for a comprehensive preview of all-things CCHA.

Alhough I’ll be at Agganis Arena (Boston, MA) tonight for Denver’s visit to Boston University (with no CCHA teams in sight), here are some quick thoughts about last night’s action involving CCHA teams:

Maybe Ferris Should Move to the ECAC

Named the CCHA offensive player of the week after a three-goal weekend against St. Lawrence a week ago, Ferris State forward Kyle Bonis showed no signs of slowing down in last night’s 4-0 victory against another ECAC foe, Rensselaer. Bonis, a junior, added another two goals — one of which was an empty-netter, giving him a total of five tallies for the young season.

The only CCHA player averaging more points per game so far is Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick and Notre Dame sophomore T.J. Tynan, whose seven points through three games trail only Minnesota sophomore Erik Haula, who has eight. Tynan’s second-period tally against Ohio State last night tied the Irish/Buckeyes contest 2-2, before classmate Anders Lee scored to put the Irish ahead for good.

But back to Ferris State for a moment: coach Bob Daniels said before the season began that he was “looking forward to increased goal production.” Though the sample size is small, perhaps the Bulldogs are already hoping to take a big step forward after finishing over .500 for the last two years. It’s been a decade since Ferris went to the NCAA tournament, winning 31 games behind then Hobey finalist and current NHL star Chris Kunitz.

The Bulldogs have also been helped in the early going by a power play converting on over 26 percent of its opportunities. And of note, Travis Oullete — after starting slowly last season — already has five goals this season as well.

Short Suspension: Smith Returns for Miami

After violating team rules and punished by sitting out Miami’s season opening split against Bemidji State last weekend, sophomore Reilly Smith returned to the ice last night for the RedHawks’ visit to Hamilton to take on Colgate.

One has to wonder if Smith’s offensive numbers from a season ago would carry over to this year — after all, recall that, as a sophomore, the Mimico, Ont., native led the RedHawks in scoring with 28 goals, overshadowed though by a combined 128 points from Hobey winner Andy Miele and All-American Carter Camper.

Well, through one game, Smith showed that maybe he doesn’t need Miele and Camper after all. With a hat trick last night, Smith led the RedHawks to a 4-3 win at Colgate. Smith was efficient too, scoring on three of his four shots on goal, and helping senior netminder Cody Reichard earn his first win of the season.

Still, Miami managed only 15 shots on goal for the entire game.

Greenham’s Streak Ends, Alaska Wins Anyway

After starting 79 consecutive games for Alaska, senior netminder Scott Greenham sat out last night’s Nanooks win against Mercyhurst. Junior Steve Thompson — an Anchorage native — earned the victory for Dallas Ferguson’s squad.

Greenham was a CCHA Second Team selection last year after compiling a .921 save percentage and a 2.19 goals-against-average.


The Midwest Coast Bias: CCHA Weekend in Review

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Welcome, all, to the first edition of “The Midwest Coast Bias” — the newest and trendiest CCHA blog, at least while the CCHA still exists. Thanks to my colleagues, including Joe Meloni and Scott McLaughlin (Hockey East), Justin Churchill (ECAC) and Dan Myers (WCHA), the new CHN blogs have you covered from coast to coast … and now, in this space, even in between.

Some initial thoughts from the first weekend of play:

The Murray Era Begins

Fresh off their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996, the Western Michigan Broncos kicked off the 2011-12 campaign by sweeping Alabama-Huntsville in convincing fashion — outscoring the Chargers 11-1 and holding UAH to just 22 shots all weekend. Enjoying the wins the most, perhaps, was “rookie” head coach Andy Murray, who now has a pair of NCAA wins to go along with his 333 as a former head coach in the NHL.

Alabama-Huntsville, meanwhile, has to feel like the kid who always loses in musical chairs. But that’s another story.

Though reading too much into this particular nonconference game is entirely unwise, it’s still worth keeping an eye on WMU sophomore forward Chase Balisy, who scored a goal and added four assists over the weekend. An NHL draft pick of the Nashville Predators and a CCHA All-Rookie Team selection a year ago, the California native helped spark a line that accounted for 13 points over the weekend. Just as impressively, they held the puck for long periods of time, playing ‘keep-away’ so effectively that Murray spoke of “time of possession” after the game — as if he had just won a football game.