Michigan State put an end to a six game winless streak by defeating the 19th ranked Ferris State Bulldogs 3-1 before over 6,400 at Munn Ice Arena.
Michigan State Recap
It's certainly nice to see the team end the their first half schedule on a high note. The team performed well tonight for 60 minutes getting quite a few offensive chances despite only getting 22 shots on goal for the game. It's games like this one that show everyone the promise of the program in the near future as the players continue to improve - especially with such a young team.
At the other end of the rink, the defense played very well. The team only gave up 24 shots on goal, held Ferris State to 0 for 3 on the power play (only took four penalties too). Jake Hildebrand was solid in goal once again making 21 saves - and he had no chance on Ferris State's only goal last night in the 2nd period. The defense did a good job limiting the quality chances in front of him too, and this time the team provided enough offensive support.
Chris Forfar scored the game winner on a redirection in front of the net - by going to net he was wide open and was able to slip it past Motte. It's great to see him get scoring, and maybe that will help get him jump started a little bit.
The first period last night was one of the better first periods that Michigan State has played this season (Michigan probably still being the gold standard), but from start to finish this might have been Michigan State's best effort.
And that is very encouraging heading into the break, the GLI, and the second half of the season. This team could be a big mover in the second half - right up the CCHA standings - if they can build upon this effort.
Around the CCHA:
The CCHA continues to show it's tough to get clean sweeps.
Miami at Ohio State. The Buckeyes continue to be a mystery, as Miami was able to earn five of six points this weekend in Columbus. Miami won a shoot-out the first night (1-1 tie), and then they came back and won 3-1 on Saturday.
Western Michigan at Michigan. The two teams split the weekend series at Yost. Western won the first night 4-1, and Michigan finally got in the win column again with a 2-0 win on Saturday.
Northern Michigan at LSSU. LSSU did earn the full six points this weekend by beating Northern 3-1 and 3-0.
Notre Dame at Bowling Green. The Irish continued their winning streak by beating Bowling Green 4-1.
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The first half of the CCHA regular season is in the books, and it's looking like the CCHA title is Notre Dame's to lose. Even though they are tied with Miami right now, the Irish have three games on hand - which means they could be nine points up on them, and with the one game on hand the Irish could be as many as seven up on Western Michigan. Not a bad spot for the Irish to be in right now.
Here is how the CCHA teams stack up in the Pairwise at this point in the year:
4. Notre Dame
10. Western Michigan
20. Ohio State
27. Ferris State
It's still early, so there is a lot of time for teams to move up and down these rankings, but considering how good the CCHA was suppose to be this year, it would be somewhat of a disappointment to only see three teams make the NCAA tournament.
4. Notre Dame (.5872)
9. Miami (.5621)
10. Western Michigan (.5595)
21. Ohio State (.5225)
27. Ferris State (.5003)
29. LSSU (.4953)
33. Alaska (.4898)
36. Michigan (.4882)
37. Northern Michigan (.4820)
41. Michigan State (.4724)
48. Bowling Green (.4630)
To be a team under consideration (TUC) for the Pairwise, you need to be .5000 or better in the RPI. Right now Ferris State is just on the right side of the TUC cliff.
CCHA Power Rankings
1. Notre Dame (14-4, LW: 1). ND's winning streak hits six games, and they've won eight of their last nine games.
2. Western Michigan (11-4-1, LW: 2). Despite the split in Ann Arbor, Western Michigan is in position to make sure ND doesn't run away with the CCHA title.
3. Miami (11-3-4, LW: 3). Miami shows Ohio State what it takes to play in the top four.
4. LSSU (10-10-0, LW: 7). The Lakers have won three straight now and have a couple weeks off before they take on Union at home.
5. Michigan (6-9-2, LW: 5). The record might not be up to standards, but the win against Western may be the thing Michigan needed to get back on track.
6. Ferris State (7-7-3, LW: 4). They were in position to potentially steal some points out of Munn, but they came up short.
7. Ohio State (7-6-5, LW: 6). The Buckeyes only managed a single point at home in a big series - not the way they wanted to end the first half.
8. Alaska (6-8-4, LW: 8). The Nanooks have a tough start to their 2013 schedule - six of eight on the road with those six on the road being Michigan, Notre Dame, and Miami.
9. Michigan State (5-10-2, LW: 10). Finally, some offense, or at least enough offense. Now can it carry over to the GLI and to 2013?
10. Bowling Green (3-10-4, LW: 9). The Falcons still have on where to go but up.
11. Northern Michigan (5-10-3, LW: 11). Now is about the time Northern figures things out, but have they dug themselves in too deep of a hole?
Big Ten Power Rankings
1. Minnesota (11-3-3, LW: 1). An off weekend for the Gophers - they host Air Force and Boston College after Christmas.
2. Michigan (6-9-2, LW: 2). Next up: GLI - they are going for a 3rd straight GLI title. The last team to win three straight GLI titles was Michigan State from 1997 - 2000 (4 in a row).
3. Ohio State (7-6-5, LW: 3). Ohio State will look to get back on track in the Three River Classic - which actually means they play Miami next. A date with Penn State could be coming up in the tournament as well.
4. Michigan State (5-10-2, LW: 4). The Spartans go for their first GLI title since 2009.
5. Wisconsin (4-7-5, LW: 5). Alabama-Huntsville certainly helps you get back on track.
6. Penn State (7-8-0, LW: 6). Penn State's last Division 1 win was on November 10th against Air Force. They've lost five straight against D-1 teams since then.