Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend In The Books....

The Spartans were unable to come away with any points this weekend in Big Rapids, as Ferris State completed the sweep with a 4-3 win on Saturday night. MSU took an early 1-0 lead, but they were unable to maintain any momentum, as Ferris rolled off three straight goals. You have to give the Spartans credit for coming back to tie the game at 3 before the end of the second period, but credit isn't something coaches and players are looking for when they are scrambling for points.

The weekend put MSU in eighth place in the CCHA standings, but it is still very crowded.

  1. Ferris State  37 points  (8 games left)
  2. Miami   36 points (6 games left)
  3. WMU   36 points (8 games left)
  4. OSU     36 points (6 games left)
  5. LSSU  35 points (6 games left)
  6. Notre Dame  33 points (8 games left)
  7. Michigan 32 points (8 games left)
  8. Michigan State 29 points (8 games left)
  9. Northern  28 points  (8 games left)
  10. Alaska  24 points (6 games left)
  11. BGSU  16 points (8 games left)
So, MSU currently holds the final home ice playoff spot in the first round of the tournament. Since MSU fell to 20th in the Pairwise, the Spartans probably should simply be looking at trying to secure home ice for the first round of the playoffs. The good news for State is they can control their own destiny by moving up the standings since they still have series remaining with Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Alaska. Notre Dame and Michigan right now might not be the best match-ups, but the Buckeyes are struggling (0-4-4 in their last 8), Alaska hasn't done well in the lower 48 this season, Michigan is a rivalry series so anything is possible, and the Irish don't appear to be the typical Jeff Jackson type team right now - though that series is at the end of the year, in South Bend, and who knows what both teams will be playing  for by then.

The biggest disappointment this weekend has to be the special teams. The power play did finally get a goal, but it was only the one goal on Friday night. Over the entire weekend, the Spartans gave up three power play goals, and this was after it has been pointed out the PK has been a strength of the  team this year. The Spartans might not have the most talent, but usually their work ethic is among the best in the CCHA, so they don't really have much room for error, and Ferris State took advantage of it. Maybe the struggling Buckeyes will provide what the Spartans need. Columbus isn't the toughest road venue in the CCHA, as they play at the large Value City Arena that typically only brings in 5,000-6,000 fans in a 17,500 seat arena. MSU might draw a few more people in the seats, but let's face it - it isn't football, so the Buckeye fans don't exactly make it a top priority.

Still, MSU needs to continue to come to these games with a lunch pail attitude. I thought Yanakeff played better this weekend than Palmisano, so it'll be interesting to see who Coach Anastos goes with after this week of practice.

For those that follow the NCAA projections, it has been posted on Spartanmag on the Munn board. There is a link to The Mag over on the left. We will try to bring a recruiting update as well.

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