CCHA Preview: November 9th-10th

Gregory Shamus

A look at this week's CCHA action.

You can hear me on this week's College Hockey Inc. College Hockey Today podcast. There's a lot of CCHA talk in there, including stuff about the craziness of the CCHA standings, Bowling Green, and Michigan State's John Draeger.

Also, we now have a Facebook page that you can check out if you're looking for another way to keep tabs on us.

Here's a look at what's happening in the CCHA this week.

Notre Dame at Boston College

It's the annual one-game meeting between these two on the weekend they also play each other in football. Recent history suggests the weaker of the two teams is likely to win this one, and in this case, that appears to be Notre Dame, although weaker is a relative term, compared to the Eagles who have looked like the top team in the country so far this year.

About the only complaint for Notre Dame so far this season is that they haven't been very on Friday nights at home. They're hoping the road trip out to Boston College solves their Friday night woes.

Venerable Boston College head coach Jerry York is quickly approaching Ron Mason's mark of all-time career victories by an NCAA coach. He's just six shy, and BC can win their next six straight, he would break the record at home against rival Boston University.

Alaska at Ohio State

As crazy as it seems, this is the home opener for Ohio State this weekend, after they started the season with six straight road games. A bye week last week helped the Buckeyes heal some injuries they picked up over those three road trips. Defenseman Al McLean and forward Nick Oddo will miss this weekend due to injury, but the Buckeyes are otherwise pretty healthy.

A big key for the Nanooks this weekend, and throughout the season, will be sticking with their systems, even if they find themselves trailing. That's a big part of the reason I was skeptical when I saw a lot of people picking Alaska for last in the conference. They may not have the talent on paper, but I'm not sure there's been a better coach in the country over the last few years when it comes to getting players to buy into his system than Dallas Ferguson.

Michigan vs. Michigan State, home and home

Some Spartan players spent their Wednesday afternoon this week testifying in court in the case involving the former MSU student that alleged he was beaten up by the hockey team, only to later have charges filed against him for domestic assault and filing a false police report.

Freshman defenseman Rhett Holland is out with a shoulder injury for Michigan State. He'll have surgery on the shoulder and take a redshirt this year.

For Michigan, Jared Rutledge will get another opportunity to start for the Wolverines. Michigan is still trying to find their identity after a disappointing .500 start. They believe getting all of their defense back and healthy will help.

And in case you missed it, should Michigan's Jacob Truoba even be playing this weekend after this hit on Northern Michigan's Reed Seckel? Not surprisingly, opinions seemed to split about 50/50 on the legality of that play on Twitter yesterday.

Northern Michigan at Miami

This is the first of consecutive two-day 600+ mile bus trips to Ohio for Northern Michigan. Add in that they've already drove to Omaha as well, and they've logged a lot of bus time

On the other end of Jacob Trouba's hit, Reed Seckel said it was the hardest hit he's ever taken in his career; something you probably could have surmised by the fact that his head is still attached to his torso. Luckily for him, he was able to bounce back and play the following night, scoring two goals in the process.

The RedHawks were only 1-3 against Northern Michigan last year, thanks in part to outstanding goaltending from Northern Michigan's Jared Coreau. The key for Miami this weekend will be getting traffic in front of him. Miami freshman goalie Ryan McKay is still day-to-day with the injury that has kept him out a couple weeks. MIami head coach Rico Blasi said he could play if he needed to, but his fellow freshman Jay Williams has been strong in goal as well, so there's no urgency to rush McKay back.

Ferris State at Lake Superior

It sounds like Lake Superior will finally get Kellen Lain back from injury. Goalie Kevin Kapalka is still out with an injury, but he won't be missed as much if back-up Kevin Murdock keeps turning in performances like he did last weekend in Alaska, where he made 69 saves and was named conference goalie of the week.

Ferris State isn't quite ready to compare themselves to last year's team. The Bulldogs have been playing without two excellent defensemen in Scott Czarnowczan and Travis White, but head coach Bob Daniels is that having to play so many young defensemen to replace them will pay dividends down the road for his team.

Western Michigan at Bowling Green

In a CCHA season where a six point weekend can make a huge difference in the standings, Western Michigan is trying to bring a more determined effort into every game.

Western Michigan's Dan DeKeyser is day-to-day with a leg injury.

Here's a video feature on Bowling Green's Cam Wojtala.

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