K. Johnston - EAGLE FI
Jan. 14, 2010 - The number two in the nation Miami of Ohio ice hockey team will face off against the number six ranked Ferris State Bulldogs this weekend in a match-up of the top teams in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). Ferris State and the visiting Redhawk’s are tied with 34 points each in the CCHA standings just one point ahead of number three Michigan State who is also ranked in the nations top ten.
The Redhawks come into Big Rapids after being knocked out of the national number one spot by the unranked Robert Morris last weekend and looking to avenge the two overtime shootout losses they suffered at the hands of the Bulldogs last November. Playing without one of their top five goal scorers after freshman Travis Ouellette was suspended for two games as the result of an incident during the Bulldogs recent series against Notre Dame, Ferris, averaging 3.5 goals per game this season, may have to wring out every ounce of home ice advantage if they plan on capturing the leagues top position.
Miami will depend in its league leading goaltending and defense to try to shut down the Bulldogs offense including its CCHA leading power play. With both teams averaging almost twenty minutes worth of penalties per game the power play and penalty kill could easily become the determining factor in this weekends competitions.
A split weekend between the two teams could open the door for the Michigan State Spartans to make a move for the top of the league standings. A Spartans sweep of CCHA rival Notre Dame this weekend along with a Ferris State – Miami split would put the Spartans in the leagues drivers seat two points up on both the Bulldogs and Redhawks.
With all of the remaining games on Ferris, Miami and MSU’s schedules being conference matchups capitalizing on this weekend’s contests could be key in determining who winds up on the top of the CCHA heap at the end of the season.
Other Michigan CCHA teams include Michigan, LSSU, Western, and Northern.