Friday, November 27, 2009

Northern Michigan Heads, err, Further North, For a Series at the Carlson Center

So no "Skater of the Week" this week. Not that I didn't want to post one. It's just, well, it's Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful for ALL of our players, and all of college hockey. Plus, time is short.

Now that the sappy stuff is out of the way, time to disect some weekly media. Notably, Paula Weston, while giving some lovin' to some respectable goaltenders, she throws Scott Greenham a bone with, essentially, an honorable mention.

Here is her list, with an addendum of games played, and why I think credit isn't being given where its due.

• Mike Johnson, Notre Dame (.943/2) (5GP)
• Cody Reichard, Miami (.936/4) (10GP)
• Pat Nagle, Ferris State (.933/7) (7GP)
• Drew Palmisano, Michigan State (.932/8) (11GP)
• Brad Phillips, Notre Dame (.931/9) (7GP)
• Reid Ellingson, Northern Michigan (.931/10) (7GP)
• Riley Gill, Western Michigan (.931/12) (9GP)
  [Note: Interesting case with Gill, stats show that even though he has played fewer games, he has faced just as many shots. Do you point to defensive issues? Me too.]
• Taylor Nelson, Ferris State (.930/13) (8GP)

First off, Scott has played nearly twice as many games as quite a few of these players. The only real stat that matters, goals against average (besides winning percentage), Greenham is right up there at 1.889. You also have to keep in mind, Greenham is number 1 in stats with a minimum of 700 minutes, or 12 games played. Not taking anything away from any of these aforementioned netminders, I think they are some great competition for Scott, but I've watched every single one of these goalies play, a few in Fairbanks even, and none of them seem to have the poise that Greenham has in the crease.

Oh, you came to read about Northern Michigan? Well, this is technically a preview post after all. The Wildcats are a team that have typically always had our number. In Paula Weston's CCHA article this week, she picked NMU to come up with the sweep, with back to back 3-2 performances. I, however, will choose to be a bit more optimistic. I like the Wildcats team, however, our typical home-ice advantage may be a bit irrelevant this weekend for two reasons. One, its Thanksgiving, our student sections is going to be a ghost town, and pep band won't be in attendance. And secondly, NMU's home ice is also a 200'x100' olympic sheet. So they're used to the extra space, something that a lot of our competition is not. But the dangerous NMU plaer to watch for is Mark Olver. With 9 goals and 9 assists, he is averaging over 1.5 points per game.

The Nanook offense is currently lead by Freshman winger Andy Taranto, with 14 points, which accounts for 1.17 PPG, and I'm not surprised in the slightest. When paired with Dion, and Yaremchuk, this offensive line has accounted for 37 of the Nanooks total 93 points. Let's hope they can keep it going today.

Statistics wise, UA and NMU are pretty much identical. In CCHA play, the Wildcats have put up 25 goals for with only 19 against, while the Nanooks have put up 23 goals, and 19 against. So, by that, expect a close contest.

Like I said before, Paula Weston predicts an NMU sweet 3-2 both nights. I really hope she's wrong.

Friday       3-2 W (OT)
Saturday   2-1 W

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