Northern Michigan visits Michigan Tech to headline Week 5 of college hockey

Last weekend, we had a pair of in-state match-ups that were featured as part of our weekly coverage of the Division I college hockey teams in the Mitten. We’ll recap those, look ahead to Week 5, and update our power rankings of all seven teams in the state.


FERRIS STATE BULLDOGS

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By technicality, Ferris State remained winless last weekend at home against Northern Michigan, going 0-1-1 against the Wildcats. However, they did win the latter of the two games via the shootout, picking up their first two points of the season.

They potted six goals against NMU from five different players, led by sophomore Corey Mackin’s first two goals of the season. In fact, four of the six goals came from first-timers on the season. Now having finally gotten in the points column for the year, Ferris is hoping to carry that momentum into a huge showdown with Minnesota State-Mankato.

The success of the Mavericks is well-documented. They have a history of success at the D-II and III levels from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. They’ve seemed to find their footing at the D-I level over the last handful of seasons and appear to be primed to continue that, as evident by their 5-1 start and No. 9 ranking in the USCHO polls.

It’s the first two of four meetings between the Bulldogs and Mavericks this year. Ferris took two of three a year ago, including in the WCHA Championship Game to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Games are slated for Friday and Saturday at 8:07 p.m. ET (Ferris Television/Cable in Big Rapids market, channel 190/22)


LAKE SUPERIOR STATE LAKERS

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The Lakers had arguably as good of a week as anyone else in the country last weekend, traveling down to Alabama and playing the Hunstville Chargers in an early pivotal WCHA showdown. Not only did they walk away with a sweep, they racked up 11 goals and moved to 4-0 on the season.

The young Lakers are averaging an unlikely-sustainable six goals per contest so far in 2016. 19 of their 24 goals are from either freshman or sophomores. Granted, 72.7 percent of their roster is underclassmen but it’s beyond encouraging to say the least. Now LSSU returns home for another WCHA meeting, this time with Alaska-Fairbanks.

The Nanooks are just 2-4 on the season, but are coming off a series split at home against the aforementioned Mavericks of Minnesota State. It’s a storied program up in Fairbanks, but not one rich with winning. Their lone appearance in the NCAAs came back in 2009-10 in the old CCHA, and you have to go all the way back to 2001-02 for the last time they won at least 20 games.

It’s the first two of four between Lake Superior and Alaska this year, they will make the trek north in mid-February. Friday’s game is a 7:37 p.m. ET puck drop, Saturday is 7:07 p.m. ET.


(11) MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

U-M Wolverines

Michigan stayed on track and went 1-0-1 over the weekend against Michigan Tech. They move to 3-1-1 on the year and preserve their No. 11 national ranking in the polls. This weekend, they head for the northeast and play Vermont on Friday, then Dartmouth on Saturday.

The Catamounts of Vermont are 2-1-1 this year, out of the Hockey East conference, and went 1-0-1 last weekend against nationally-ranked Nebraska-Omaha. They have six all-time appearances in the dance since joining Division I, most recently in 2013-14. The Big Green of Dartmouth, meanwhile, ironically will be playing their first game of the season. They haven’t made the NCAAs since 1980 when they went back-to-back in ’79 and ’80.

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This will be the first meeting head-to-head all-time between Michigan and Vermont. The Wolverines meanwhile are continuing a series with Dartmouth, after hosting them in Ann Arbor a year ago. Friday is a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop, Saturday is for 7:35 p.m. ET.


MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

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Michigan State was swept again last weekend against No. 6-ranked Denver, but were not totally waxed like they were in the previous week against Lake Superior State. Sophomore Mason Appleton and freshman Patrick Khodorenko scored their first goals of the season. It is the third time in four games this year MSU has only scored one goal.

Now they hit the road and head east for one game against Princeton from the ECAC, who will also be kicking off their 2016-17 campaign. The Tigers aren’t far-removed from consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008 and ’09, but they have won just ten games or fewer in each of the last five seasons, making it a good chance for the Spartans to get into the win column.

These two schools played a non-conference series back in both 2013 and ’14, with MSU winning three of the four meetings head-to-head. This year’s bout will take place Friday in East Lansing, game is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.


NORTHERN MICHIGAN WILDCATS vs. MICHIGAN TECH HUSKIES

northern-michigan-wildcatsmichigan-tech-huskiesThe Wildcats and Huskies will play the first of two home-and-home series this weekend, with the second one coming at the end of the year.

Northern Michigan as we went over earlier went 1-0-1 against Ferris last weekend, totaling 8 goals in the series and pushing their record to 2-3-1. Michigan Tech meanwhile scored six goals and picked up one out of a possible six points against Michigan. A brutal schedule of games through four weeks has them sitting at 1-5-2. Now the upper peninsula conference foes will share the ice this weekend.

Friday’s game will be up in Houghton on the campus of Michigan Tech, then the scene will shift to Marquette on Saturday. Both games are scheduled 7:07 p.m. ET puck drops. Michigan Tech has the slight edge as of late in the all-time series, going 10-7-3 over the last 20 meetings, including eight of the last 11.


WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

WMU Broncos

Western Michigan enjoyed an off week last weekend, so they get two weeks to prepare for a Denver Pioneers club that has won four straight and still stands as one of the supreme college hockey programs in the country.

Denver is 9-2-1 all-time against the Broncos. WMU is 1-5-1 in the seven head-to-head meetings against the Pioneers in the Mile High City, their lone victory coming in 2014.

Western has found the back of the net 19 times already in four games this season. A pair of underclassmen forwards — freshman Wade Allison and sophomore Matheson Iacopelli — are responsible for seven of those 19 goals.


DSN MICHIGAN COLLEGE HOCKEY POWER RANKINGS

  1. Michigan (3-1-1)
  2. Lake Superior State (4-0)
  3. Western Michigan (3-0-1)
  4. Michigan Tech (1-5-2)
  5. Northern Michigan (2-3-1)
  6. Michigan State (0-4)
  7. Ferris State (0-6-1)
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