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Western Michigan earned a sweep of reeling Michigan for the first time since 1986. That's almost as long as it's been since Michigan missed the NCAAs, and that seems all but certain now, barring a miracle turnaround. The wins kept WMU one point ahead of Miami for first place in the CCHA, and up to No. 8 in the Pairwise. The Broncos finished 5-1-2 in January, with Colton Hargrove scoring twice in the weekend finale. His second, early in the third period, chased Michigan goalie Adam Janecyk from the game. The Michigan goaltending has been a big problem this season, but the problems are all over.
After a terrible start to the season, Northern Michigan has turned things around, unbeaten now in six straight after sweeping OSU. Freshman Jared Coreau is one of the best unheralded goalies in the country; the junior has played every game this season, and put in a 30-save effort in this one. ... Unfortunately, Ohio State is going the complete other direction. After a good start to its season, it has gone 1-7-2 in the last 10, bringing back nightmares of last season, when the team sat atop the Pairwise on Jan. 1 only to win one game the whole rest of the year.
Northern Michigan has had a rough go since two early-season wins over Wisconsin. But this weekend, it got two road wins over St. Cloud, to lift the team's spirits. Reed Seckel scored three goals on the weekend, including Saturday's game winner, and Jared Coreau made 37 stops in Saturday's win.
Fifty-four seconds into Friday's game, Northern Michigan's Matt Thurber was given a game misconduct for a hit to the head. The CCHA office gave him a one-game suspension after that, so he sat out this game, another loss for NMU. Brady Hjelle had the shutout Friday for the Buckeyes, while Collin Olson needed just 12 saves for Saturday's win, as the reeling Wildcats turned in a lackluster effort. “We had some guys stay home with injuries and lost some guys to penalties, which left us with a shorter than usual bench," NMU coach Walt Kyle said. "However it gave some different guys a chance to get in-game experience tonight."
"It is not so much our defensemen, it is our forwards putting pressure on the other team’s defensemen," OSU coach Mark Osiecki said, of the low shot total allowed. "We are moving our feet more and utilizing one of our strengths, our speed." ... OSU forward Riley Simpson, a redshirt freshman, got his first career goal. "It feels really good, like a weight has been taken off my back."
Friday, Riley Barber helped Miami stay hot, and Austin Czarnik scored another shorthanded goal. Czarnik has six goals overall, three shorthanded. Miami then followed up, winning the shootout to take five points. Alex Wideman scored late to tie it, and scored in the shootout as well. It was also good for Miami to see freshman Sean Kuraly follow up his first career goal last week with another in this game.
One night after A.J. Treais capped a three-goal, third-period rally by scoring with one second left in regulation to give Michigan a tie (Michigan won the shootout), the Wildcats held on to a similar 4-1 third-period lead on Saturday. But barely. Michigan scored two goals less than a minute apart in the third period to cut the deficit to one, with Treais again leading the way. But this time, the Wildcats were able to hang on. ... Michigan played without standout freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba, who got a Game DQ on Friday for a hit to the head.
After a sweep to open the CCHA schedule, Notre Dame is 5-1 and rolling along so far. Mike Johnson got his first start of the season and came away with the win. If the goaltending, along with Steve Summerhays, can continue like this, Notre Dame is in great shape. What's most impressive is how they're spreading around the offense so far. Sure, T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee are at the top of the the Irish's scoring list, but no player on the team has more than two goals, yet they've scored quite a lot overall.
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