It was a very peculiar week across the board for all seven of our Division I college hockey programs in the Mitten, peculiar in the different results.
We look back on that strange weekend and look ahead to some more enticing match-ups this weekend, including another chapter in the Michigan/Michigan State rivalry for Week 17.
FERRIS STATE BULLDOGS (7-14-4, 6-9-3 WCHA)
A pretty lackluster weekend from Ferris caps off a disappointing two-week stretch for the ‘Dogs. They go 0-1-1 over the weekend against Alaska-Fairbanks, playing to a 3-3 tie (losing in a shootout) and then losing 2-1 in overtime. What seemed like a favorable stretch for FSU to gain some momentum, against the two Alaska schools, ends with a 0-2-2 record, gaining just two out of a possible 12 points.
Now Ferris has to recollect themselves as they hit the road this weekend back to the State of Hockey for a date with No. 18 Bemidji State (15-8-3, 15-3-2 WCHA). We last saw Bemidji a little over a month ago when they were up in Houghton taking on Michigan Tech, where they split that tilt. The Beavers split with Bowling Green two weekends ago and are playing .500 ball since that weekend series vs. MTU (4-4-2).
They are however 7-3-1 at home this season, while Ferris is 4-5-1 away from Big Rapids. Hopefully the Bulldogs don’t poke the bear… err, beaver. Bemidji has scored one goal or fewer in eight of their last 12 games. These games are slated for 8:07 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday.
LAKE SUPERIOR STATE LAKERS (9-12-3, 6-9-3 WCHA)
Lake Superior played to a virtual tie with Yooper conference rival Northern Michigan last weekend. The two schools finished the back end of their double dip and exchanged 1-1 stalemates, with each team winning in a shootout.
Effectively, it was a four-game wash for both the Wildcats and Lakers. It’s a bit of a letdown for LSSU given they scored 10 total goals in the three previous games leading up to last weekend. They hope to get back in the scoring department in a big way when they welcome in Alabama-Huntsville (7-15-2, 7-9-2 WCHA). We last saw the Chargers back in mid-December when they swept NMU in Marquette, outscoring them 7-2. But they’ve dropped four straight since then and are coming off a combined 6-2 sweep at the hands of Minnesota State.
Should be an interesting tilt in Sault Ste. Marie this weekend. The Lakers are 6-3-1 at home this year, and Huntsville is 6-5-1 away from home. LSSU will look to make it a season sweep of the Chargers after downing them in Huntsville back in October. Games this weekend are scheduled for Friday (7:07 p.m. ET) and Saturday (7:37 p.m. ET).
MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (8-11-1, 1-5 Big Ten) vs MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (4-15-1, 0-6 Big Ten)
Another tough weekend for both Michigan and Michigan State last weekend, but not surprising given where each team stands and who they were playing. The Wolverines lost 9-4 combined in a sweep at No. 9 Minnesota, while the Spartans gave up five goals in both games against No. 6 Penn State.
So now these two will need to regroup and prepare for one another, as the latest edition of the in-state rivalry continues. It’s the first of two officially scheduled weekend meetings between Michigan and MSU. Of course they met a while back in the consolation game of the Great Lakes Invitational. Michigan surrendered a big lead but ultimately pulled away with a win in overtime.
And as always, this weekend will be of the home-and-home variety. Friday’s game (6:35 p.m. ET) will be played at Yost Ice Arena, then the scene will shift to Munn Ice Arena on Saturday (7:05 p.m. ET). Both games can be seen on the Big Ten Network as well. All the momentum and mental advantage swings with the Wolverines, as MSU has lost nine straight overall coming into the weekend. Michigan has dominated the all-time series as of late too, winning four of the five meetings last year.
MICHIGAN TECH HUSKIES (14-9-5, 11-3-4 WCHA)
In the grand scheme of things, it was a pretty “eh” performance from Michigan Tech last weekend, playing to a pair of ties at home against Alaska-Anchorage and each time winning in a shootout. But the splits really only hurt MTU in the national rankings, as they fell out of the USCHO Top 20.
Tech does get to stay home for this weekend and welcome in the team that assumed their No. 20 position in the polls, Minnesota State. The last time we saw the Mavericks on the docket, they split against Ferris State in Big Rapids back in December. They have won four of six overall since then and scoring at will, potting three or more goals in four of the six.
It should be a good weekend up in Houghton. The Huskies are sitting in 2nd place of the WCHA with 39 points, a whole 10 points behind 1st-place Bemidji State. The Mavericks meanwhile are tied for 3rd with Bowling Green at 32 points. And it’s an all-time series that MSU has owned as of late, going 9-1-3 in the last 13 played against Tech. Both games on Friday and Saturday are 7:07 p.m. ET puck drops.
NORTHERN MICHIGAN WILDCATS (5-17-4, 3-12-3 WCHA)
So as we stated before with LSSU, the virtual four-game, tw0-week push between them and Northern Michigan can be looked at in a number of ways. Considering where Northern was in the season versus their counterparts in Sault Ste. Marie, I think they’ll be okay with the results.
Now NMU will stay home for the weekend as Anchorage (5-14-5, 4-9-5 WCHA) comes calling for a trip to Marquette. We just noted in the previous section on how the Seawolves earned a hard-fought split on the road against Michigan Tech, something I’m sure they can walk away with feeling good as well. Anchorage is playing much better as of late, 4-3-3 in their last ten games… shows you how poorly they were playing early on.
This is the second bout of the season between the Wildcats and Seawolves, they split up in Anchorage back in the first week of December. It’s an all-time series controlled by NMU, 7-3 overall vs. Anchorage. Friday and Saturday at 7:07 p.m. ET are when these games can be consumed.
WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS (11-6-3, 5-6-1 NCHC)
Another well-played weekend from the Broncos as they earn a split at home against No. 1-ranked Denver. The only real negative from that weekend was giving up a touchdown worth of goals in the Saturday end of the series after pitching a shutout on Friday.
No matter, the overall result is what matters most and the Broncos still find themselves comfortably in the polls at No. 13 according to USCHO. It’s definitely a change of pace this weekend for WMU when it comes to the opponent. They go from facing one of the top tier programs in the country, let alone the NCHC, to the cellar dwellers of the conference in Colorado College (6-14-2, 2-8-2 NCHC).
This is our first look at the Tigers this year so here’s a brief history lesson. They’re not terribly far removed from an excellent stint in the WCHA. From 1993-2011 (18 seasons), they appeared in the NCAA Tournament 12 times, which included three Frozen Four showings and six WCHA regular season crowns. It’s been tough sledding though since realignment put them in the NCHC. The Tigers have mustered just a .238 winning percentage over the last four seasons, including this year.
Western holds a 5-2-3 advantage over Colo. Coll. since 2013. Interestingly though, four of the Tigers’ six wins this year have come away from home, while Western is 6-2-2 in K-Zoo, where these games will take place on Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET.
2016-17 DSN MICHIGAN COLLEGE HOCKEY POWER RANKINGS
[Last week’s rankings]
- Western Michigan 
- Michigan Tech 
- Lake Superior St. 
- Michigan 
- Ferris State 
- Northern Michigan 
- Michigan State 
TEAM BROADCAST INFORMATION
|FERRIS STATE||97.3 FM WDEE||WCHA.tv|
|LAKE SUPERIOR STATE||99.5 FM WYSS||WCHA.tv|
|MICHIGAN||1050 AM WTKA||MGoBlueTV|
|MICHIGAN STATE||1240 AM WJIM||Spartan Sports Network|
|MICHIGAN TECH||93.5 FM WKMJ||WCHA.tv|
|NORTHERN MICHIGAN||1003. FM WUPT||WCHA.tv|
|WESTERN MICHIGAN||96.5 FM WKZO||NCHC.tv|