The top four teams in the CCHA were all engaged in series with each other this past weekend, and both series ended in splits. Notre Dame beat Michigan on Friday at Yost Arena before Michigan responded with a win of their own on Saturday. That makes four straight Friday night games that Michigan has failed to win. Meanwhile, in Miami, Alaska got pounded in an uncharacteristically rough game for goalie Scott Greenham, but responded back with a tough 3-2 win on Friday.
It's a shame we aren't likely to see a repeat of any of these match-ups until the semifinals of the CCHA tournament. One of the downsides of having such a big conference, and I think the WCHA is going to see this this year, is that with so many teams, winning a conference title becomes less about performing well in these big series against top teams, and more about which teams can give away the fewest points against non-contenders.
Speaking of not giving away points against non-contenders, Denver swept a hapless Minnesota State team at home over the weekend, while Minnesota-Duluth got a home sweep of Michigan Tech. Minnesota State went an impressive 0-for-14 on the powerplay over the weekend, with one shorthanded goal allowed. Meanwhile, Tech, which usually gives UMD some difficulty, took a 2-1 lead into Friday's third period, but couldn't hold it, and lost the game 5-3.
Elsewhere in the WCHA, two pretty good teams met at the Kohl Center in Wisconsin where North Dakota pulled out a hard-fought sweep over the Wisconsin Badgers. That's a pretty big sweep for the Sioux to get four tough road points. The sweep puts Wisconsin in fifth place in the WCHA, and while they probably don't quite have the talents to compete with a team like North Dakota, but it's hard to imagine them sliding much lower with the seven teams below all looking like disasters right now.
Nebraska-Omaha remained undefeated in WCHA play with a win and a tie at St. Cloud over the weekend. It's tough to tell which is more troubling for St. Cloud; the fact that they once again only showed up for one game on the weekend, or the fact that they needed a late extra-attacker goal just to salvage a tie in the one game they showed up for. At 4-6-1 overall, and seventh in the WCHA in terms of winning percentage, it's safe to say the Huskies are the biggest disappointment in the WCHA so far this season.
Michigan State remains a difficult team to figure out. On Friday night, they gave up a 3-1 third period lead to Ohio State at home, eventually losing in overtime. They rebounded with a win on Saturday, but they likely needed more than 3 points out of a home series with Ohio State if they were serious about contending in the CCHA this year.
Bemidji State won their first ever game at the new BREC/Sanford Center on Saturday night against Alaska-Anchorage. Friday, they opened up a 2-0 lead in the game's first minute, but failed to hold off the Seawolves and lost 5-4. Saturday, they scored in the first minute again, but this time, the Seawolves failed to mount any sort of offense in a 4-0 loss. Matt Read has seven of Bemidji's 21 goals so far this year, and four more assists, meaning he's had a direct hand in just over 52% of their offense this season.
Lake Superior more than doubled their conference point total with a sweep of Ferris State thanks to two consecutive shutouts by goalie Kevin Kapalka.
Bowling Green continued their march to respectability with a split on the weekend over Northern Michigan, for their second conference win.
Colorado College played out-of-conference this past weekend, beating Air Force on Friday, and then being beaten soundly by Yale on Saturday. Yale looked incredible with five straight wins to start the season, scoring five or more goals in each game, until they lost to Air Force on Sunday, blowing a 3-0 third period lead in the process. Go figure.