This past weekend in the CCHA, a couple secrets may have been revealed, but for some teams, there are new questions up in the air including Miami (Ohio). The Redhawks took their first weekend of CCHA play and proved that the goaltending situation is not going to be a problem, and their offense is still just as potent as ever.
Enrico Blasi’s club had solid goaltending from Cody Reichard, stopping 26 of 29 in a 3-3 tie against Ohio State. Connor Knapp got the nod in the second game and earned his first collegiate win after stopping 20 shots.
Sophomore forward Pat Cannone had a big weekend for the Redhawks, tallying one goal and five assists in the weekend series against Ohio State. John Albert led the way for the Buckeyes, scoring once and adding three helpers.
Michigan took two from St. Lawrence this weekend but did it in a painful fashion, losing senior captain Mark Mitera. The captain of the Wolverines left the first game with an apparent knee injury and was helped off the ice by two of his teammates. The status of the injury is still unknown, but it looks like the Wolverines may be
without their top defender for an extended period of time.
Michigan State had a good showing in their first game against Massachusetts, taking the tilt 3-1. The Spartans came up a little short in game two of the Ice Breaker, falling to Boston University 2-1. Senior forward Matt Schepke and sophomore defenseman Jeff Petry each had a goal and an assist for the Spartans.
Notre Dame had a rude awakening to open the season against Denver, losing 5-2. Notre Dame couldn’t find an answer for Luke Salazar, who ripped the Irish for two goals and an assist all in the third period.
This weekend Ohio State is back in CCHA action against the Lake State Lakers, while Michigan takes on Northern Michigan in Marquette. Ohio State showed flashes of solid play this weekend against Miami (OH), and has a good chance to redeem themselves against Lake Superior State.
Assistant coach Jason Lammers thought there were a lot of positives against Miami (OH), including play from one of his sophomore forwards.
“Hunter [Bishop] brings a scoring touch,” Lammers pointed out. “I think he was really competitive, and just in terms of his energy level those were the three aspects that were the best about him, and he was consistent.”
Special teams is an area that the Buckeyes are concerned about after giving up six power play goals in 17 chances, and only putting in one out of 13 with the man advantage.
“With the amount of power play goals they scored, it is something that we want to continue to develop,” Lammers said. “Also our team identity, what we are about, how hard we work, the plays that we make, and taking the play to other teams,” about the Buckeyes preparation this week for Lake [Superior] State.
Lake Superior played in the Superior Cup this pas weekend, tying Minnesota-Duluth and dropped their game against Michigan Tech. The Lakers got two stellar efforts from Brian Mahoney and Pat Inglis. Mahoney turned away 34 shots in a loss to Michigan Tech, while Inglis stopped 29.
Both goaltenders have nothing to show for their efforts this past weekend, but they can get a good start to their CCHA season by bringing their “A” game to Columbus.
Michigan and Northern Michigan are to do battle this weekend. Northern Michigan is coming off of a good win against Michigan Tech and a rough loss to Minnesota-Duluth.
Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle knows his Wildcats have a tough task ahead of them.
“[We have to] score more goals than them,” said Kyle jokingly about the match-up this weekend. “They’re a very good team. Right now, honestly, it’s just that time of year where you’re so much more concerned with your team instead of the team you’re playing. We are trying to get our game in order as much as we can.”
Freshman Andrew Cherniwchan had two goals and an assist this weekend for the Wildcats. Cherniwchan and some other key freshman could be key contributors this weekend against Michigan.
“Cherniwchan has played really, really well.” Kyle said of his freshman forward. “[Justin] Florek doesn’t have any points, but he has been a very solid player for us.
“We have a young defenseman named Ben Lindenmulder, who played both nights, got an assist one night and has played solid, so I’m happy with those guys.”
Michigan will need a defenseman to step up and fill in the role left by injured Mitera. Scooter Vaughn will probably see increased ice time, along with Chris Summers and Steve Kampfer.
Offensively, the Wolverines are playing the same way as last year. They are keeping opponents at bay with their speed and quick puck movement, and they can take chances and rely on the solid play of goaltender Billy Sauer.
Sauer is coming off of a 30 win season, and played well against St. Lawrence. The senior netminder stopped 28 shots and earned his first win of the year.
In non-conference play, Miami (OH) travels to Vermont to take on the Catamounts, while Bowling Green takes on the defending National Champions and the current number one seed Boston College Eagles.
Miami (OH) played well on special teams against Ohio State, and they will need that momentum on the man advantage to carry over to take the weekend series against Vermont.
Vermont is in the same boat as Miami (OH) as far as goaltending is concerned. They have junior Mike Spillane, who has appeared in 16 games in his collegiate career. Former Catamount goalie Joe Fallon graduated and left with 63 wins as a four year starter.
Bowling Green may have their hands full for an evening match against the Eagles, as Boston College is coming off of a big win against Wisconsin, 5-4. Bowling Green beat an aggressive RIT team, and tied a quick Niagara team this past weekend. Brandon Svendsen and Kai Kantola both had two goals over the weekend, while Dan Sexton leads the Falcons with four points, all assists.
Of the CCHA match-ups this weekend, Michigan and Northern Michigan is the most intriguing. The teams will split this weekend’s series.
Ohio State will take both games from Lake Superior State in Columbus. We should see improvement in their special teams play this weekend.
Miami (OH) will out power a good Vermont team, taking one of two games from the Catamounts. Goaltending will be a key to success for both teams in this series.
Boston College will take the game from Bowling Green on their home ice with ease. The Eagles have too much firepower and fundamentally sound goaltending.