Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend Recap: Spartans Split With Wildcats

Game Recaps

Friday: Recap // NMU Recap // Video Highlights (MSU) // Recap

Saturday: MSU Recap // NMU Recap // Video Highlights (MSU) // Recap

Series Thoughts

Another weekend split for the Spartans. On Friday, the Spartans fell behind and battled back twice to within one goal. The Wildcats added an empty net goal that capped a wild finish that saw four goals in the final 5:08. Michigan State played probably their best hockey over the final ten minutes, but it wasn't enough. On Saturday, the Spartans played one of their more complete games in awhile, and they eventually rallied scoring the final three goals of the game to pull out the 4-2 victory.

It would have been a little unfortunate for the Spartans to not pull out the win on Saturday, since they were playing much better hockey, and they really controlled the play. Michigan State out-shot Northern 43-20, and this included a 19-3 edge in the first period, but the Wildcats held a 1-0 lead. Lee Reimer tied it up in the second on a shorthanded goal. Northern took a 2-1 lead in the 3rd period, but MSU finally took over as Ferrantino, Forfar, and Sorenson all tallied goals for MSU.

Michigan State again has a chance to win two straight games, but they'll need to do it on the road in Alaska. MSU makes its final trek to Alaska for a CCHA regular season series. I say final regular season series, because it is very possible that MSU could be back in Alaska two weeks later for the CCHA playoffs.

Chris Forfar puts MSU ahead for good  on Saturday 3-2

CCHA Standings

GPWLTSOWPointsTotal Points Possible
Western Michigan24146424860
Notre Dame24158114759
Ferris St.261311214248
Ohio State24127514254
Bowling Green24912313143
Northern Michigan24713412638
Michigan State24716102234

The Spartans cannot finish higher than 7th place at this point, and sitting nine points back of 8th place, home ice advantage is pretty much an afterthought at this point. It's still about building into the post season and playing good hockey heading into the playoffs. If the Spartans don't want to head to Alaska again, then they could help their own cause this weekend by taking some points and giving LSSU or Bowling Green a chance to catch Alaska for 6th place. Plus, it could help MSU by moving themselves up the standings.

Miami, Western Michigan, and Notre Dame have clinched a first round bye. Miami and Western Michigan have guaranteed themselves home ice advantage in the CCHA quarterfinals. Alaska will be eliminated from a first round bye if they drop 2 points this weekend (or if Ferris & Ohio State earn 2 points this weekend - or some combination). Basically, it's looking like Ferris State and Ohio State are in prime position to earn first round byes.

Current CCHA Playoff Match-ups:

First Round

#11 Michigan State at #6 Alaska  (No Head to Head Games Played Yet)
#10 Michigan at #7 LSSU  (Season Series Split 1-1)
#9 Northern Michigan at #8 Bowling Green (No Head to Head Games Played Yet)

Second Round

#5 Ohio State at #4 Ferris State  (Season Series Split 1-1)
Lowest Seed Remaining at #1 Miami
2nd Lowest Seed Remaining at #2 Western Michigan
Highest Seed Remaining at #3 Notre Dame

Games This Week


Northern Michigan at Bowling Green
Miami at LSSU
Michigan at Ohio State
Notre Dame at Western Michigan
Michigan State at Alaska

-Off: Ferris State -


Northern Michigan at Bowling Green
Miami at LSSU
Michigan at Ohio State
Notre Dame at Western Michigan
Michigan State at Alaska

-Off: Ferris State -

Looks like some positioning could be decided this week as NMU-BGSU face each other with home ice on the line in the quarterfinal. Ohio State has a chance to pass Ferris State for home ice with a single point against Michigan, Alaska wraps up its CCHA schedule this week, and ND-WMU face-off in a potential championship deciding series. Then there is current CCHA leader Miami looking to solidify a CCHA championship with a road series at LSSU.

Interesting thing right now is the shoot-out is currently deciding the CCHA championship. I can't think of a worse way to win a title - on a skills competition. This is why I hope the Big Ten doesn't bring over the shoot-out. Miami and Western are tied in league wins, losses, and ties. Miami has won all four shoot-outs they have been in. Western is only two for four. If you didn't have a shoot-out (and assume the games ended with the same results, we'd have two teams tied for first right now. Sorry Western.

CCHA Power Rankings

1. Miami (19-8-5, LW: 1). A Sunday afternoon loss outdoors against ND was an opportunity lost, as Miami could have built a five point CCHA lead with 12 points remaining.

2. Notre Dame (19-12-1, LW: 3). The Irish pass Western since they defeated #3 Miami this weekend. They can prove it on the ice this weekend in Kalamazoo.

3. Western Michigan (18-8-6, LW: 2). Anyone notice the Broncos are now winless in 3 (0-2-1) and have only won once in their last five games (1-3-1)?

4. Ohio State (13-12-7, LW: 4). The Buckeyes went unbeaten against Western, and now a big series for them against Michigan this weekend at home.

5. Ferris State (15-13-4, LW: 6). The Bulldogs split at home against Bowling Green, and now they have a weekend off to see what they need to do to secure a bye and potentially home ice advantage.

6. Bowling Green (12-15-5, LW: 7). The Falcons continue to play decent hockey splitting a tough road series in Big Rapids. Will anyone want to see them in the playoffs?

7. LSSU (15-16-1, LW: 8). The Lakers swept Alaska this weekend. Now they have a tough match-up with Miami coming into town.

8. Alaska (13-13-4, LW: 5). The Nanooks were on fire at the start of 2013 winning their first six games. They are 1-5 since.

9. Michigan (10-18-2, LW: 9). Let's see if the bye week helped.

10. Northern Michigan (13-15-4, LW: 10). The Wildcats earned their first CCHA road victory this season on Friday.

11. Michigan State (9-20-3, LW: 11). The Spartans seem to be playing better hockey, but it still needs to be more consistent.

Big Ten Power Rankings

1. Minnesota (20-5-4, LW: 1). The Sunday result is still pending, but the Gophers continue to be the class of the conference.

2. Wisconsin (12-10-7, LW: 2). A tough home loss on Friday to Minnesota, and they get another crack on Sunday in Chicago.

3. Ohio State (13-12-7, LW: 3). Back above .500.

4. Penn State (12-13-0, LW: 4). The final series in their initial D-I season is this upcoming weekend in Madison.

5. Michigan (10-18-2, LW: 5). It'll be interesting to see if Michigan can come out of the off weekend playing well.

6. Michigan State (9-20-3, LW: 6). The Spartans have a pair of tough series to finish with - at Alaska, vs. Western.

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