Week 19: Spartans and Wolverines host ranked Big Ten foes; Michigan Tech travels to Bemidji


February is officially upon us and we now enter the home stretch for the 2016/17 college hockey season. For some of the Michigan-made teams, they are working on making a run through the conference tournament, while others still have some work to do.

It will be a limited slate of games once again, as both Ferris State and Lake Superior State are off this week.

  • Ferris picked up a possible four out of six points last weekend at home against Bowling Green. They lost 3-2 in overtime in the first game but bounced back with a 5-0 shutout in the back end of the double dip. They now sit at 9-16-4 (8-11-3 WCHA), with 29 points in league play, putting them in a tie for 5th place.
  • Lake Superior State is the team they are tied with in the WCHA standings. Unlike Ferris, LSSU stubbed their toe a bit last weekend on the road against Minnesota State. They lost Game 1 by a score of 4-2 then played to a 2-2 tie in the second game, losing in a shootout. Ultimately, they pick up just one point in the conference standings and are now 11-13-4 (8-10-4) on the season.

On to the rest of the preview for Week 19.

**All team information provided by either USCHO or CollegeHockeyNews
**All team broadcast information can be viewed at the end of the article

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (8-12-2, 1-6-1 Big Ten)

Michigan was one of three teams off last week that is back in action this weekend. The Wolverines are in a rut right now. In fact, they are still looking for their first win of the calendar year. You have to go all the way back to the Great Lakes Invitational on December 30 for their last victory in regulation or overtime.

The two-week layoff could be a good or bad thing. Regardless, they have had time to prepare for arch-rival (11) Ohio State (12-6-6, 3-4-1 Big Ten). The Buckeyes, despite the No. 11 ranking, sit 4th in the Big Ten… speaks to how deep the six-team league is.

This is our first look at the Buckeyes this season. A strong start to the season is the reason for their ranking, as they’ve sat in the USCHO Top 20 since the third full weekend of the regular season. Another good indicator of their success this year is the scoring output, averaging 4.00 goals per game. Only Penn State (4.41) has a higher mark in the entire country.

Ohio State has won each of the last two meetings, but it’s an all-time series that’s dominated by the Wolverines.

  • Fri, February 3 – 8:05 p.m. ET (Can also be seen on Big Ten Network)
  • Sat, February 4 – 7:35 p.m. ET

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (5-15-2, 1-6-1 Big Ten)

The Spartans were also off last week and part of me will bet they wanted to keep playing after ending their nine-game losing skid last weekend against Michigan and picking up a possible four out of six points against the Wolverines.

Well like their maize and blue rivals, they too are back at it again this weekend and face a daunting task, when No. 18 Wisconsin (13-8-1, 6-2 Big Ten) pays a visit to East Lansing.

So first-year head coach Tony Granato is doing an excellent job with his alma mater. The Badgers are on a nice little run right now, having won three straight coming off a sweep of the Buckeyes last weekend. This is not our first rodeo with Wisconsin this year. They’ve split two games apiece with Northern Michigan, split a series with Michigan and swept the Spartans once already this year.

It’s going to be a challenge for Tom Anastos and his bunch to stop a red-hot Wisconsin offense, it’s a team that has scored three or more goals in ten of their last 11, including five straight.

  • Fri, February 3 – 7:05 p.m. ET
  • Sat, February 4 – 7:05 p.m. ET


Another fairly solid week from Michigan Tech last weekend as they picked up four points on the road against Alabama-Huntsville. They won the first game 5-2 and after playing to a 4-4 tie, Tech needed nine rounds of a shootout to pick up that all-important second point.

It sets the stage for a monster showdown in the State of Hockey this weekend as Tech will travel to play at Bemidji State (16-11-3, 16-4-2 WCHA).

The Beavers played in the annual North Star College Cup last weekend with fellow Minnesota-based schools, losing 2-1 to St. Cloud State and getting blanked 4-0 by Minnesota. No damage to their standings in the WCHA, but their lead is much slimmer than this point a week ago.

Could Tech have Bemidji right where they want them? Or is it the other way around? The Beavers have lost four of their last five, while Tech is 3-1-4 since the GLI in December. These two teams split their previous meeting up in Houghton. They also sit 1-2 in the WCHA standings.

  • Fri, February 3 – 8:07 p.m. ET
  • Sat, February 4 – 8:07 p.m. ET


Northern Michigan is probably in that same boat as Michigan State where they probably did not want the bye week and possibly lose any sort of momentum going in. Prior to their off week, they had picked up 12 out of a possible 15 points over their five previous games. And with 19 points in the league overall this year, speaks to the improved play and how bad they were.

Perhaps they can rekindle that as they hit the road for Bowling Green (14-15-2, 12-11-1 WCHA) this weekend. We of course just saw the Falcons last weekend when they played at Ferris. They’re about as average as they come, when it comes to overall records, home/road splits, and even scoring offense (34th out of 60) and scoring defense (29th out of 60). But they do have a nice spot tied for 3rd in the conference, could bode well come postseason play.

It’ll be the second time these two teams are squaring off this year. The Falcons swept the Wildcats back in mid-November, outscoring them 10-4 in the process.

  • Fri, February 3 – 7:07 p.m. ET
  • Sat, February 4 – 7:07 p.m. ET


Western Michigan played to a virtual draw last weekend on the road against Miami, splitting the series with each team scoring a total of five goals in the two games. But it was enough, and thanks to some help, to bump them up one slot in the USCHO polls to No. 9.

Western is now stepping out of conference this weekend. They return home to host independent Arizona State (10-18-2). It’s been much improved play from the Sun Devils over the last 2+ months. Going back to Thanksgiving weekend, they are 8-7-2. We saw ASU on the docket once, a single game in early November resulting in a 4-1 win for the Wolverines. It was part of a 2-11 start to the season for the the Sun Devils. Considering it is their second season as a NCAA Division I program and they’ve already doubled their win total from a year ago, they have to be pleased with the progress in Tempe.

Still, on paper, it should be a very favorable match-up for the Broncos this weekend. But they absolutely cannot let their guard down against an improved ASU club.

  • Fri, February 3 – 7:05 p.m. ET
  • Sat, February 4 – 7:05 p.m. ET


[Last week’s ranking]

  1. Western Michigan [1]
  2. Michigan Tech [2]
  3. Ferris State [4]
  4. Lake Superior State [3]
  5. Michigan [5]
  6. Northern Michigan [6]
  7. Michigan State [7]


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