Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday Recap - January 30

#1 RedHawks sweep Western Michigan; Buckeyes drop
shootout to #10 Ferris State

Oxford, Ohio (Jan. 30) - The #1 Miami RedHawks finished off a weekend sweep of Western Michigan by defeating the Broncos 2-1 at Steve Cady Arena Saturday night. Bronco senior netminder Riley Gill nearly stole at least a point by stopping 47 Miami shots but a late powerplay goal from junior Andy Miele with just over four minutes remaining in the third period enabled Miami to emerge unscathed.

Sophomore Connor Knapp was relatively untested as the RedHawk defense corps once again bottled up the opposition. Knapp made just 15 saves in registering his fifth win of the season lowering his goals-against average to 1.86.

Miami improves to 18-4-6 overall and 15-4-4-2 CCHA opening a 10-point lead over second place Michigan State in the league standings. In addition, with Robert Morris' win over Bemidji State, Miami has regained the top spot in the Pairwise rankings to themselves but Denver is closing fast in the nice to look at, but essentially meaningless, KRACH computer rankings with their weekend sweep of North Dakota.

In attempting to predict when Miami could possibly seal the CCHA regular season title, the math is a bit "fuzzy," but here's what we know.

Miami cannot technically clinch until at least the Bowling Green series on February 12-13 unless Ferris State is swept this weekend and Michigan State loses one. Here are the games remaining and the maximum possible league points for the current top four.

Miami - 8 games remaining - 75 max points (currently at 51 points)
Ferris State - 8 games remaining - 63 max points
Michigan State - 6 games remaining - 59 max points
Alaska - 6 games remaining - 59 max points

To get to 63 points, and close out everyone else, Miami needs four wins (remember, CCHA regulation wins are worth three points). But, the number assumes that Ferris and MSU win every night. If Miami sweeps Lake Superior State this weekend, Ferris is swept by Northern Michigan and MSU splits, Miami would clinch the regular season title this weekend at Steve Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio.

Miami is back in action this Friday and Saturday, February 5-6 vs. Lake Superior State in Oxford.

Columbus, Ohio (Jan. 30) - Coming off two consecutive victories over ranked opponents, Ohio State looked to sweep the #10 Ferris State Bulldogs at Value City Arena in a penalty filled affair on Saturday night.

Ohio State trailed 1-0 after one period and 3-2 after two, but got a powerplay goal at 3:55 of the third period from junior Kyle Reed to knot the score. The game would go to overtime and eventually a shootout that the Bulldogs would win earning two league points for their efforts. Ohio State received one point for the shootout loss and took four of a possible six points on the weekend.

Sophomore Zac Dalpe scored his 15th goal of the season. No other Buckeye has more than eight goals this season. Junior Dustin Carlson made 21 saves as the Buckeyes outshot Ferris State 33-24 a night after being outshot 49-30 in earning a 5-3 win. Ohio State's record is now 11-13-2 overall and 9-9-2-1 (T8th CCHA) while Ferris State moves to 17-8-3 and 11-6-3-3 (3rd CCHA)

Next weekend, the Buckeyes travel to Omaha to take on the Mavericks in an important CCHA series matching teams tied for the final first round home-ice playoff spot. Ohio State has two games in-hand over the Mavericks but a first-round bye is still not out of reach given just four points separates 4th from 10th in the tightly packed "middle tier" of the league.

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