Mittens’ Mitten Roundup – College Hockey, Week 22

We’ve reached the finish line… well, mostly. Six of the seven college hockey teams here in the mitten wrap up their regular seasons this weekend and conference tournaments for our Big Ten and WCHA contingent will begin next weekend.

And just about every game we have here in the mitten this week has major playoff seeding implications, adding that much more fuel to the fire. Let’s see what we got on tap.

LSSU LAKERS at FERRIS STATE BULLDOGS

RECAP: Ferris State (12-21-1) got absolutely worked last week at Minnesota State, giving up 11 goals en route to a sweep at the hands of the Mavericks. They now limp into the season finale at home, having allowed 4+ goals in four straight losses.

UP NEXT: The Bulldogs will welcome in Lake Superior State (10-20-4), winners of four straight coming out of a bye. These two teams are among four in the WCHA jockeying for the final three spots. Only the top eight of the 10-team league can qualify for the conference tournament. FSU and LSSU split their first meeting back in mid-January, and it now could be a virtual play-in series for both clubs.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Ferris freshman Lucas Finner continued his modest rookie campaign last week with a goal and an assist, giving him 14 points on the season. He’s starting to heat up too, that’s now seven points in the last seven games for Finner. And in Lakers’ last time out against Alaska-Anchorage, junior Anthony Nellis scored twice and assisted on another in that series. Like Finner, Nellis has found a late-season groove; five points over the last six games.

SCHEDULE: Friday (02.23) and Saturday (02.24) | 7:07 p.m. ET

BROADCAST: WCHA.tv | 97.3 FM WDEE (FSU) | 99.5 FM WYSS (LSSU)

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

RECAP: Michigan (16-13-3) had the biggest “drop the mic” moment in college hockey last weekend. The Wolverines swept top-ranked and arch-rival Notre Dame in a home-and-home, including a 1-0 shutout in Ann Arbor.

They close out conference play 8-3-1 in their last 12, collecting 26 of a possible 36 points in that stretch to vault themselves right into NCAA tournament contention. The recent surge also assures them home ice in the first round of the conference tournament, which begins next weekend.

UP NEXT: As previously stated, Michigan (3rd in B1G, 38 points) has completed its league slate for the season, they are going to finish either third or fourth, depending on how Minnesota (4th in B1G, 33 points) fares at Penn State this weekend. The Wolverines will put a capper on the regular season when they welcome in Arizona State (8-19-5) to Yost.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior Tony Calderone scored in each victory against Notre Dame last weekend, extending his team lead and career-high in goals to 17. They were his first goals since January 5, and he now has earned a point in three straight games.

SCHEDULE: Friday (02.23) and Saturday (02.24) | 7:35 p.m. ET

BROADCAST: MGoBlueTV | 1050 AM WTKA

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

RECAP: Michigan State (11-19-2) concluded their home portion of the 2017-18 season with a series split against Penn State. The Spartans finish the home slate with eight wins, quadrupling the total number of wins they had at Munn a season ago.

UP NEXT: MSU can thank their rivals from Ann Arbor when they travel down to South Bend to take on what should be an angry Notre Dame (22-8-2) team. The Irish are locked into the 1-seed for the upcoming Big Ten Tournament and will have a bye next week. Michigan State, who is penciled into the 7-seed for the postseason festivities, was swept by Notre Dame earlier this season in East Lansing.

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PLAYER TO WATCH: Freshman Mitchell Lewandowski potted two goals and helped on another to up his point total to 31. It snapped a streak of five games without recording a point for the Clarkston-native. In fact, MSU’s “KHL” line of Patrick Khodorenko, Taro Hirose and Lewandowski were responsible for half of the Spartans’ goals, 10 of the 14 points in totals, against Penn State.

SCHEDULE: Friday (02.23) @ 7:35 p.m. ET | Saturday (02.24) @ 7:05 p.m. ET

BROADCAST: Spartan Sports Network

M-TECH HUSKIES vs. NMU WILDCATS

RECAP: Michigan Tech (16-14-5) played to a stalemate at home against Arizona State. No harm, no foul in terms of their standing in the WCHA, but it doesn’t bode well from a momentum standpoint, just 3-5 in their last eight. Northern Michigan (20-11-3) two weeks ago swept the Nanooks of Alaska-Fairbanks right out of Marquette.

UP NEXT: These two Yooper rivals finish the season with another home-and-home tilt, splitting the first meeting way back in November. Tech is locked into the 5-seed of the WCHA tournament for next week. Northern (2nd in WCHA, 58 points), however, can finish anywhere between first and third in the league, depending on how things go with Minnesota State (1st in WCHA, 63 points) and Bowling Green (3rd in WCHA, 55 points).

PLAYER TO WATCH: MTU senior defenseman Mark Auk was very productive against Arizona State, tallying three points (G, 2A) to give him a new career-high of 24 in that department. The native of St. Claire Shores has five points in his last three games; averaging a point a game over his last 12. And NMU junior and Sault Ste. Marie-native Denver Pierce logged three points as he continues a comeback season, setting career-highs across the board following a miserable sophomore slump.

SCHEDULE: Friday (02.23, @ NMU) and Saturday (02.24, @ MTU) | 7:07 p.m. ET

BROADCAST: Fox UP (Channel 6.2) | WCHA.tv | 93.5 FM WKMJ and Pasty.net (MTU) | 100.3 WUPT (NMU)

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

RECAP: Western Michigan (14-14-2) is the only mitten-made hockey team with two weeks of regular season hockey left, and they are in dire need of a momentum change. The Broncos muster just one out of a possible six points last weekend at home against St. Cloud State, and are now just 2-5-1 since losing leading scorer Wade Allison for the year due to injury.

UP NEXT: It does not get any easier for Western, as they welcome in another top-10 conference foe in Minnesota-Duluth (16-13-3). This pack of Bulldogs is just 3-4 in their last seven, but they are coming off consecutive shutout wins against Miami-OH. These two split their first meeting back in November. It’s another conference bout with big-time playoff seeding ramifications and the Broncos could be facing a first-round series on the road if they can’t get back on track.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Sophomore Dawson DiPietro notched four total points last weekend against St. Cloud State, three in the shootout loss on Friday. He now leads Western Michigan with 33 points. In the eight games since Allison departed the lineup, DiPietro has a point in six of them.

SCHEDULE: Friday (02.23) and Saturday (02.24) | 7:05 p.m. ET

BROADCAST: NCHC.tv | 96.5 FM WZOX

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