it comes. it is the glendening. prepare your rosewater. [er: commenters point out this is actually Wohlberg, which is true.]
Hockey won four straight. I'm staring at a box score that shows Michigan down 2-0 after seven minutes and then this:
Travis Turnbull (Louie Caporusso, David Wohlberg) PPG 15:04
Brian Lebler (Travis Turnbull, Robbie Czarnik) 16:44
Luke Glendening (Louie Caporusso) GWG 15:32
Luke Glendening (Louie Caporusso, David Wohlberg) ENG
That's the equivalent of basketball winning with 30 points from David Merritt. The night before Michigan pulled Hogan after he gave up 3 goals on eleven shots and put in Sauer for the third and then Sauer went out and won the next night. The once-settled goalie situation now seems unsettled, but four wins over decent competition is four wins. Michigan has now moved into third place in the CCHA and has nearly clinched the first-round bye. Notre Dame is six clear and is all but assured the regular season crown—things would be much more interesting with competent refereeing a couple weeks ago—and Miami remains a game ahead of M.
[Update: Hogan had the flu and pulled himself out, apparently.]
…and moved way up in the Pairwise. The win streak has moved Michigan into outstanding position in the pairwise. They're second overall now, somehow, and Notre Dame has fallen to fourth. If the season ended today, Michigan would finally get to stay home and play in the Grand Rapids regional.
I'll spare you the details as to how the bracket is formed—those interested can get them at USCHO—but forming a coherent one is tough at the moment because three teams currently in the tournament are guaranteed hosts: Minnesota, Yale, and UNH. Michigan's bracket on a pure seeding basis is frickin' righteous:
15. AH autobid (probably Air Force)
However, Yale has to be in Bridgeport and there can't be a first-round intra-conference matchup, so someone would have to get swapped out or in. The thing that seems to make the most sense right now is swapping Yale into BU's bracket and Denver into Michigan's, but all this stuff is going to change a thousand times before the end of the season. It's not worth getting exercised about.
You want Notre Dame to lose, lose, lose, as if they slide ahead of Michigan in the PWR they'll get the spot in Grand Rapids and Michigan is getting shipped. (Probably. The rule book no longer demands that #1 seeds get placed in order of seeding.) Also feel free to root against UNH, as their hold on the tournament is tenuous at the moment and their exclusion would help Michigan not get hosed.
The margins in the PWR are always thin, so Michigan has a lot to play for in the final couple weeks of the season and the playoffs. They've got a couple of road games against Ohio State—which has to be kicking itself after it took a 3-2 lead against ND with under three minutes left, then took a spearing(!) major, let the game get tied up with a second left, and lost in OT—and the season-ending home and home against Ferris. OSU is solidly on the bubble for the tournament and will be playing for its season against Michigan; Michigan will be playing to keep pole position for Grand Rapids. Should be an excellent series, and both games are televised.
Mark Mitera's prognosis got grimmer. Michael Spath:
When [Mitera] met with the entire media about three weeks ago, he was energized and talking about a mid-February return. Not so Monday. Admits getting back into playing shape is much harder than he anticipated. Looks good when he does skate, but his stamina is lacking severely. Said today he wasn't even sure he'd be back for the final weekend of the regular season Feb. 27-28.
Spath updated that with a quote from one of the coaches stating that if Mitera was ready for the CCHA playoffs he'd play in them—and remember they'll have two weeks to prepare after the Ferris series—with the most likely lineup change being Chris Summers to forward.
I'm not wild about that idea since Summers has been excellent on D and the return of Mitera would be an opportunity to sit the penalty- and mistake-prone Llewellyn (although he may have played better the past couple weeks); meanwhile the Michigan grinders like Winnett and Fardig and Ciraulo and Glendening have all been playing well.
Michigan picked up a depth forward for next year. Chris Heisenberg is now listing Lindsay Sparks as a Michigan commitment. Sparks was committed to Brown until his M switch. Yost Built has more on Sparks; sounds like he'll be a depth forward. Maybe John Shouneyia upside?
Notre Dame announced a new arena. Ding, dong, the Joyce is dead. Jeff Jackson has already made them a power and they'll be one until he retires; the new arena should help him recruit. The CCHA's days as the Big Two and little ten (or eight or nine) are over; Miami and ND are here to stay.