I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
This news is a couple days old but I had not seen it posted on the site yet. NMUs leading point getter, Senior Matt Thurber (6 goals, 26 assists), is out with a broken leg and will not play this weekend. I feel bad for him as his collegiate career is now over. This article plays it off like they should not be too impacted, but when a team loses such a key set up guy and veteran that is rarely a benefit. Hopefully Michigan can get off to a good start to the final CCHA playoff with a sweep on their way to making a run to extend the NCAA streak!
I'm sure this makes sense to someone, but after just playing 4 top-20 teams (3 top 10) within 10 days, our strength of schedule is #25 in the country. Who has played a "tougher" schedule so far (with SOS rank in parentheses):
-New Mexico (#4): played 0 (currently) ranked teams
-Miami (#1): played 4 ranked teams
-Oklahoma (#7); played 5 ranked teams
-Arizona (#10): played 2 ranked teams
-Florida (#16): played 5 ranked teams
In short, WTF? In a world where NMU is considered to have the 4th toughest schedule and #3 RPI, I wonder what the point is of any of these numbers. Of course, they make for conversation, but clearly something is massively out of whack. Maybe this is a reason that the B1G fairs not as well as expected come tourney time. Thoughts? Am I just looking at these ranking incorrectly?
In probably the only bizarre twist of the CCHA tournament thus far, Miami continued its late season slump with a loss to Northern Michigan in the second round. Miami received a Bye for their regular season success in conference and then fell on their face. Profoundly. After winning the first game Friday 3-2, Miami needed only one win to advance to the Joe. This, however, did not happen as they were taken down in Overtime on Saturday, thanks in no small part to NMU's Brian Stewart and his 39 saves. Sunday, the Hawks just looked silly, losing 3-1 and having their only goal come 17:53 in the third before an empty-netter sealed the deal. Stewart stood on his head, again, making 41 saves. Note: not a sieve, not a funnel, not a vacuum, not a blackhole - he's just a Wildcat. Which is open for any range of adjectives.
Now while Notre Dame was the likely candidate to emerge from that bracket pairing, it's awfully exciting to see both Miami and Ohio State drop early when considering Michigan's chances to dance (?) successfully. Rivalry schools/OHIOSUX aside, OSU and Miami are two very gritty teams that always cause Michigan trouble. That they were felled not by ND or each other but, rather, by NMU and Alaska is another planet subculture entirely. Miami split their home and homes with Michigan with both teams sweeping their respective home games. Michigan was 3-1 in their series with OSU but still... it's the Buckeyes - they live to beat UM 2-1 with a late 3rd period handpass off the boot of a coach and into the net while Shegos is searching for his contact lens.
Regardless, with the sweep of Western, Michigan plays Alaska at the Joe which is, I dunno, 900x better than flying to Fairbanks like OSU had to do. Michigan was 1-1 with Alaska but had to make that damn flight to do it, scoring a goal in each period and winning in the Saturday game 3-2. UM had actually led after the first period of the Friday game before Sauer got blasted for four goals, two in each period. With Hogans success against WMU, Red will hopefully stay with him.
Should Stewart show up to play like he did before and NMU can round up some goals, while UM plays without a LiveChat going on, it would be a very good thing for the Wolverines. Alaska finished 4th in the CCHA so they're no push-over but NMU split with Michigan in the two games they played, @NMU, but were outscored 5-3 in the second - both games Sauer was in net. Michigan had crap success against teams it was forced to fly to play, going 1-1 with Northern and Alaska while losing to Boston at Boston. That the game is in the Joe, where Michigan outscored opponents 10-1 (ok fine it was Tech and MSU but still...) is a big thumbs up.
In case you wondered, also, Notre Dame absolutely bombed Nebraska-Omaha 5-0 in their Friday game before winning 1-0 (wtf?) on Saturday. They matchup against an NMU team that they have rocked all season, outscoring the Wildcats 21-11, a stat that looks ridiculous considering the Irish only won 3-2 and 4-2 @ NMU but then decided "eh fuck it" and beat them at home 9-5 and 5-2.