Five series, all conference tilts, in the CCHA this week. Maybe this week will help clear up the mess in the middle of the standings, but more likely, another tight weekend should only make things tighter and more muddled. Everybody plays Friday-Saturday, except for Notre Dame/Western Michigan, where the second game was pushed to Sunday due to a late kickoff for Notre Dame football.
Lake Superior at Alaska
Lake Superior and Alaska consider themselves pretty similar programs. Both teams are among the most defensively-oriented in the league. Combine that with the late start and if you can stay awake throughout an entire game in this series, you deserve a prize of some sort.
Lake Superior goalie Kevin Kapalka appears to still be out with the shoulder injury that caused him to miss last weekend. Back-up Kevin Murdock has been taking over in his stead. Top forward Kellen Lain is also still likely out with a nagging groin injury.
Michigan at Northern Michigan
Northern Michigan has historically been a very difficult trip for Michigan, including last season, when goalie Shawn Hunwick received a game misconduct for throwing a punch at a NMU player.
Expect a story about future scheduling any time you see a big name opponent like Michigan and Minnesota travel to another team's barn this year. Northern Michigan head coach Walt Kyle says he'll only schedule teams willing trade off one home series for one road series. That's a noble idea, bu=| likely means this is one of the last times you'll see Michigan playing at Northern Michigan.
Michigan's string of injuries on the blue line continues after losing Brennan Serville in last weekend's series. Head coach Red Berenson said Serville is out with a "facial concussion," which WebMD describes as not a real thing.
After getting swept by Northern Michigan last weekend, the Wildcats will try to be a little more conservative on the blue line, to avoid costly mistakes.
Miami at Ferris State
Two bits of trivia from Miami's game notes. Freshmen or sophomores have scored all but three of Miami's 19 goals so far this season. Tommy Hill is working with Miami as a volunteer assistant coach this year, after playing for Ferris State last season.
Both teams split their opening CCHA series, and I wouldn't be surprised if a second split was in store for them this weekend.
Michigan State at Bowling Green
Falcons goalie Andrew Hammond is still questionable with an elbow injury, but his back-up, freshman Tommy Burke is pretty confident he can handle the job, and showed that last weekend en route to winning the CCHA's rookie of the week award.
Last week we talked about Brent Darnell emerging as a sophomore for the Spartans. This week, it is fellow sophomore Tanner Sorenson who is looking to make a big jump in production in his second year.
Western Michigan at Notre Dame
This is the third shortest road trip in the CCHA, at roughly 75 miles(Michigan's trips to Bowling Green and East Lansing are 5 and 10 miles shorter respectively). The Friday-Sunday format likely allows Western Michigan to make the rare two-game road trip without having to shell out for the cost of a hotel room.
One of the keys to all the scoring done by Western Michigan's defense so far this year is the team's forwards creating traffic in front of the net
Things are going pretty well for the Irish right now, with Steve Summerhays stopping pucks, and scoring coming from every line.