2023 Michigan Tech vs Minnesota State - Men's

CCHA Reasons To Watch: Holiday Weekend Offers Prime Matchups

CCHA Reasons To Watch: Holiday Weekend Offers Prime Matchups

This week, the CCHA presents hockey fans with a troika of tasty series to accompany their gobbler sandwiches.

Nov 24, 2023 by Tim Rappleye
CCHA Reasons To Watch: Holiday Weekend Offers Prime Matchups

This week, the CCHA presents hockey fans with a troika of tasty series to accompany their gobbler sandwiches. 

Three teams will emerge as favorites to claim home ice in the Mason Cup playoffs, while three others will be labeled pretenders. 

Let’s start with the marquee matchup in Mankato.

Michigan Tech Vs. Minnesota State

This series represents the iron of the CCHA. 

Both schools have established themselves as regular NCAA Championship participants, and both battled to the wire in last year’s fabulous MacNaughton Cup showdown. 

Though Draft Kings has established the hometown Mavericks as 1.5-goal favorites, we declare this series is a “Pick ’em.”

Michigan Tech’s forward to watch is the wily redhead Ryland Mosley. Tech’s leading returning scorer, Mosley is streaking once again with seven points in his last four games. 

MTU also got a boost last weekend from its energy line – Tyrone Bronte, Blais Richartz and Alex Nordstrom – a line that played with desperation that became joy after they willed in a vital goal. 

Tech is a team on the cusp of climbing in the standings, but they find themselves in a house of horrors.

Minnesota State fans bellowed out their signature “Ole” song 11 times last weekend at the Mayo Clinic Health System Center, a tune that sends shivers throughout the CCHA. 

The Mavericks have been particularly tough against the Huskies in Mankato, running up an 8-3 record at home during the Joe Shawhan era. 

The Mavericks top gun is Sam Morton, who has 10 goals in as many games, but goaltending will determine the victor this weekend. 

Junior Keenan Rancier, a shining star in the Mavericks’ run to last year’s NCAA Tournament, should see action this weekend.

Prediction: Sweep for Minnesota State. Too many Maverick goals for Tech to counter. Ole, Ole, Ole.

Lake Superior State Vs. St. Thomas

Damon Whitten’s Lakers have demonstrated to the hockey world that they have cured the malaise that haunted them through most of last season. 

They have solid goaltending in senior Ethan Langenegger, a slew of freshmen who come out of the stands and deliver and the nation’s top scorer in Jared Westcott. 

The blue and gold are worth your viewing time.

It is St. Thomas, however, that is emerging as the CCHA’s team to watch. 

The signal through the fire hose of hockey data is goal-differential, and the Tommies lead the CCHA with +5. They also are the only team with a save percentage over .900, another vital stat. 

UST coach Rico Blasi and his assistant Leon Hayward have recruited 19 Minnesota natives to play in St. Paul, under the strict supervision of taskmaster Blasi, and the results are impossible to ignore.

“We play the game we love to play, were in a great institution in a great spot and the guys get along really well,” Blasi said this week. 

The Tommies get goals by committee and split the goaltending chores every weekend. It’s a winning formula.

Prediction: Tommies overcome two weeks of rust and claim at least four points this weekend.

Northern Michigan Vs. Bowling Green

Sometimes, it takes Grant Potulny until after Christmas to work out the kinks with his Wildcats. He is two months ahead of schedule this season, however. 

Through October, Northern Michigan was the worst penalty-killing team in the nation, but in the last three games, the Wildcats have been a perfect (9-for-9). 

Potulny has found his stopper in goal in Charlie Glockner, and the Cats offense continues to thrive, as Andre Ghantous, Artem Shlaine and Josh Zinger enthrall viewers with their wizardry. They are poised to make the climb to a CCHA home-ice slot and beyond.

Bowling Green has been a national story this year, but for all the wrong reasons. 

It has survived “Hurricane Austen” and finally is resembling the team that was picked to finish third in the CCHA. 

The Falcons picked up four points in last week’s split with Lake State, and they outplayed St. Thomas to such an extent the week before that Rico Blasi was forced to concede his Tommies were “lucky” in their sweep of Bowling Green. 

The Falcons have endured enough lousy rolls at the craps table that it now is their turn to catch a few breaks.

Senior center Ethan Scardina has a new lease on life. Viewers should search out home team’s No. 17 and focus on both his will and skill. 

Junior wingman Ryan O’Hara has carried the Falcons offensively through the distractions with eight goals in 12 games thus far. He arguably was the best player on the ice last weekend in the Soo.

Prediction: BGSU sweeps a better-than-average Lake State squad. Their resurgence will be college hockey’s answer to “Gandalf the Gray” becoming “Gandalf the White” after the Falcons’ near-death experience in September.