The first weekend of real games is in the books, and we've gained a little insight about most teams this year. Here's a few brief thoughts on the teams that got their season started last weekend.
Shootout! Fans didn't have to wait too long for the first CCHA shootout. In the first league game of the season, Miami and Ohio State finished their overtime tied 3-3, and the Buckeyes won the shootout to earn an extra point. As far as I know, the world didn't stop spinning and no old ladies fainted at the sight of the shootout. My only problem with it is that the OSU/Miami series ended up being worth 5 points this weekend instead of the traditional 4 points.
Mercyhurst is not goodSt. Cloud scored seven goals in each game, while going 44% on the powerplay against a clearly overmatched Mercyhurst team. Remember when Lake Erie caught on fire in the late-1960's? That's kind of what Mercyhurst's defense was like.
Mark Mitera is hurting. Next time you hear somebody say 'I've never heard a player regret coming back for an extra year of college hockey,' you can probably bring up Michigan defenseman Mark Mitera's name. Mitera suffered a serious knee injury in Michigan's first game of the season that will likely keep him out for the duration of his senior season. Michigan did manage to win two very close games with St. Lawrence despite going 1 for 19 on the powerplay.
North Dakota's goaltending struggles North Dakota lost both games of the Icebreaker tournament last weekend. Scoring three goals over two games isn't great, but the bigger concern is in goal. Brad Eidsness gave up 5 goals over 33 shots on Friday, and then Aaron Walski gave up three goals on 16 shots in the second game. North Dakota outshot Massachusetts 42-16 on Saturday night and still lost. The Sioux are known for sleepwalking through the first part of the season, but if the goaltending doesn't turn it around, they may struggle against WCHA teams.
Impressive win for DU Denver took on Notre Dame in the Hall of Fame game, in a match-up of two teams that should be near the top of their respective conferences and Denver had a decisive 5-2 victory. Notre Dame was missing a few players due to suspension, but the Pioneers were the better team. Goalie Marc Cheverie earned high marks in his first real test as full-time starter.
Jeff Lerg is going to be busy Michigan State split their first two games of the season with a win over Massachusetts, and a loss to BU. After building a 3-0 lead in the first two periods of their first game, Michigan State didn't put a single shot on goal in the final twenty minutes of play. Lerg stopped 12 of 13 shots to preserve the win, however. He had 36 total stops for the game. On Saturday, the Spartans were outshot 29-13, but only lost 2-1.
CC gets the job done. Colorado College had two fairly pedestrian wins over a weak Alabama-Hunstville team. Richard Bachman got his first shutout of the season in a 1-0 win on Friday. Despite the close score, CC had a huge advantage in shots on goal. On Saturday, Drew O'Connell got the start in goal and CC won 5-3.
Rough times in western Michigan Ferris State dropped a game at home to Canisius, while Western Michigan tied Niagara and lost to RIT.
Wisconsin struggles The Badgers lost to two pretty good eastern teams in BC and New Hampshire. Jamie McBain started off the season by going -5 in his first two games, while Ryan McDonagh is -3.
Mavericks that aren't losers Minnesota State swept Bemidji at home, giving MSU their first ever 2-0 start to the season since joining Division I.