Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Musings.....

Don't pay any attention to the elephant in the room.

Even though the power rankings bring it up

How long has it been since the Spartans have won a CCHA playoff series? Long enough that the team they beat in the league quarterfinals back in 2007 (Nebraska-Omaha) is no longer part of the conference.

Think about that statement. MSU hasn't won a CCHA playoff series since 2007. I guess that means if MSU wins this weekend, we can start planning a parade in April! No? Oh, ok....

That factoid has made an apperance on this blog before, because I just can't get enough of it. I didn't believe it at first, but I got to thinking, and it really is true.

In 2008, Michigan State hosted Northern Michigan but lost in three games. I don't remember much from this game, but the late goal by Sucharski to send it into OT does ring a bell. The fact that Northern won on a power play in overtime in the third game of the series makes me chuckle. Gotta love the CCHA stripes. Michigan State still made the NCAA tournament this year, the last time they did. In fact, MSU was tied 1-1 with Notre Dame in the West Regional Final with 6 minutes to go in regulation, before the Irish tallied two goals 74 seconds apart.

In 2009, Northern Michigan swept MSU out of the CCHA First Round in Marquette. The most amazing thing about this series is that Jeff Lerg gave up 13 goals in two games to end his Spartan career, including 8 in the final game. That wasn't the way anyone expected the Lerg era to end at MSU. Though, I still remember Ryan Miller giving up a goal from center ice once during his career at MSU.

In 2010, the Spartans improved to a second place finish in the CCHA, but faced a red-hot rival from Ann Arbor that swept MSU at Munn. The losses knocked MSU far enough down in the PairWise to keep MSU out of the tournament.

In 2011, MSU was faced with the tough task of travelling out to Fairbanks. The Spartans battled hard but lost a pair of heart breaking overtime games to the Nanooks. The second one came in double overtime at what was about 2:30 am in East Lansing.

And now in 2012, MSU is faced with another tough task heading down to Oxford, a team that was 11-5-2 at home this season. They are 12-4 in 2012, and they swept MSU back in January. Miami finished 1 point ahead of MSU for home ice. In fact, had MSU survived the overtime in the first meeting this year, MSU would have earned home ice over Miami even if Miami won the shoot-out. Had that happened, MSU would have had 48 points to Miami's 47.

The second game Miami won 4-0 in large part to out-shooting MSU 35-12 over the final two periods, including a 20-5 margin in the final period. Despite all that, the game was only 1-0, and that one goal was on a two man advantage.

The good news is Miami is on its spring break this weekend, so there are still quite a few tickets available for the weekend series - should any Spartan fans fancy a trip down to Oxford. It is a nice place to watch a game, and who knows what any green & white crowd support could do to lift MSU. The Spartans aren't afraid to play on the road though, and as long as they battle hard, this should be a tight series.

I haven't seen any TV listed yet for this series. My guess is Comcast & FSD will be focused on Ann Arbor since it is closer to Detroit with Notre Dame travelling to Ann Arbor. In the meantime the games will be on the radio this weekend, and I don't think there will be any conflicts with the Big 10 basketball tournament since MSU should be playing during the day there.

In the meantime, we'll continue to bring you coverage as Michigan State looks to address that elephant in the room.

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