Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend Recap: Spartans split with Penn State

Game Recaps & Highlights

Friday - Recap  // Friday - Recap  //  Friday - Video Highlights

Friday - Penn State Recap

Saturday - Recap // Saturday - Video Highlights // Saturday - Penn State Recap


Well, yeah. Friday night wasn't pretty, but the Spartans did enough to pull away and earn a 5-3 victory. The Spartans had some help with a major penalty late in the period, but the power play finally came through as Sorenson put the puck home - his second goal of the night. This night also saw senior Kevin Walrod post a 3 point effort, including a goal. It wasn't pretty, but it's a win.

Then Saturday happened. Michigan State built a 2-0 lead early on in the game, but Penn State battled back - and shot the puck - a lot - at Hildebrand. Hildebrand had a career high 47 saves, but it wasn't enough as Penn State rallied for a 3-2 win. Some people might call it the low point in the season, but I guess we'll have to see. You can't really sugarcoat this, MSU shouldn't lose to Penn State - even with the season the Spartans  have been having this year. Heck, the Spartans won Friday without two of their three leading scorers. With that said, Penn State wasn't going to make it easy. They did beat Ohio State earlier in the year, and they rallied a couple of times this weekend to make MSU work for it. The Spartans had a 2-0 lead disappear on Friday as well as a 3-2 lead.

The good news for MSU is, the Spartans did not lose any ground on the three teams immediately in front of them in the CCHA Standings. Northern Michigan, Bowling Green, and Michigan were all swept.

CCHA Standings

GPWLTSOWPointsTotal Points Possible
Western Michigan18124213969
Notre Dame18126003666
Ferris St.20118103458
Ohio State1896313161
Northern Michigan20511412044
Bowling Green18510311949
Michigan State18512101646

It's good news, because if MSU can get going, win their games on hand Northern Michigan and Michigan - the Spartans will pass both in the standings. The Spartans completely control their destiny for home ice advantage in the first round of the CCHA play-offs, and it will be determined in the next three weeks. MSU plays Michigan, Bowling Green, and Northern Michigan in 3 straight weekends. At this point anything higher than 8th, MSU is REALLY going to have get rolling and get some help.

Western Michigan & Miami have now passed Notre Dame. Ferris State and Alaska are still hanging around, but they have played more games than any of the top three. Also, Ohio State is still hanging around.

Games This Week


LSSU at Bowling Green
Western Michigan at Ferris State
Alaska at Miami
Notre Dame at Ohio State
Michigan State at Michigan  (BTN)


LSSU at Bowling Green
Western Michigan at Ferris State
Alaska at Miami
Notre Dame at Ohio State
Michigan State vs. Michigan (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI)  (Fox Sports Detroit)

PairWise Rankings

The PairWise rankings become more relevant as the season moves along. Once the calendar hits about mid-February, it pays to really pay attention to where certain teams are. These rankings are suppose to mimic the NCAA selection committee's rankings and process. Here is how the CCHA stacks up:

In The Tournament:

T-3rd - Miami
8th - Western Michigan (conference leader)
T-11th - Alaska (bubble team)
T-14th - Notre Dame (bubble team) 

Ranked, But Outside The Tournament:

T-18th - Northern Michigan (bubble team)
T-21st - Ferris State
T-24th - Ohio State

And a quick look at the RPI:

RPI Rankings

4. Miami
8. Western Michigan
13. Notre Dame
18. Alaska
22. Ferris State
23. Northern Michigan
24. Ohio State
35. LSSU
39. Bowling Green
48. Michigan
50. Michigan State

LSSU is just on the outside of being a team under consideration - their RPI is .4944 (.5000 makes you a TUC). Also interesting is this is Penn State's RPI is now higher than Michigan State's. Penn State is 49th.

CCHA Power Rankings

1. Alaska (12-8-4, LW: 1). The Nanooks winning streak has hit six games, and now a major series in Miami could decide if they are a contender or pretender in the CCHA race.

2. Western Michigan (16-6-4, LW: 2). A sweep over Michigan puts Western back in first place. Now they face a rivalry series in Ferris State.

3. Miami (15-6-5, LW: 3). Miami is still hanging around, and they have Alaska this weekend followed by Western Michigan and Notre Dame.

4. Notre Dame (16-10-0, LW: 4). The Irish finally found a way to win, but not before they fell out of first.

5. Ferris State (13-10-3, LW: 5). The Bulldogs winning streak was snapped in South Bend, and now they can make their mark on the CCHA race with Western coming to town.

6. Ohio State (10-11-5, LW: 9). Once you start to count the Buckeyes out, they sweep a series.

7. LSSU (13-14-1, LW: 7). The Lakers have a chance to regroup against Bowling Green - and solidify a home ice spot for the first round of the CCHA playoffs.

8. Bowling Green (8-13-5, LW: 8). The Falcons were playing well until this weekend - have they peaked?

9. Northern Michigan (11-12-4, LW: 6). Second half surge hit a major speed bump in Alaska. They get a weekend off to refocus.

10. Michigan (8-16-2, LW: 10). Michigan & Michigan State have had some battles in the past - just never for last place. Wolverines have lost 6 of 7.

11. Michigan State (7-16-3, LW: 11). The Spartans control their own destiny for home ice advantage in the first round of the CCHA playoffs. It's up to them to take care of business.

Big Ten Power Rankings

1. Minnesota (18-4-4, LW: 1). The Gophers finally lost. But they are still class of the Big Ten.

2. Wisconsin (11-8-5, LW: 2). Anyone remember their 1-7-4 start?

3. Ohio State (10-11-5, LW: 4). One weekend away from being the 3rd Big Ten team above .500.

4. Michigan (8-16-2, LW: 3). I'm not sure any of the last three teams deserves to be ranked ahead of the other ones - but for now Michigan gets the nod.

5. Michigan State (7-16-3, LW: 5). MSU still hasn't won two straight games all season - no better time to start then now.

6. Penn State (10-13-0, LW: 6). Penn State gets another "marquee" win - even if it wasn't over a vintage MSU squad. Wisconsin awaits at the end of their schedule.

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