2023 Bowling Green vs Bemidji State - Men's

CCHA Reasons To Watch: It's An Important Final Weekend Of Action

CCHA Reasons To Watch: It's An Important Final Weekend Of Action

Much of college hockey is in holiday mode – taking care of exams and nursing bruised bodies – but some schools are getting in a final weekend of action.

Dec 14, 2023 by Tim Rappleye
CCHA Reasons To Watch: It's An Important Final Weekend Of Action

Much of the college hockey world has slipped into holiday mode – taking care of exams and nursing bruised bodies for a couple of weeks – but a handful of schools are getting in a final weekend of action.

There will be select games CCHA fans can drill down and watch on three consecutive nights, games with serious implications, as we head into the break.

No. 5 Bowling Green Vs. No. 4 Bemidji State

Though these schools physically are separated by 865 miles, they’re only a single point apart when it comes the CCHA standings. 

Bowling Green is cooking along at a .667 clip since getting its full team back from suspensions, winning every Friday night for the past four series, most recently sweeping Ferris State. 

Tom Serratore’s Beavers, on the other hand, are limping along, a shade below .500 over the past month. Their perch in the final home-ice position in the CCHA is precarious.

On Tuesday night, the majority of Ty Eigner’s Falcons boarded their enormous sleeper bus, the remaining six flew commercial from Detroit. Since putting controversy behind them, they appear to be a team on a mission. Just ask equipment man Scooter Jess.

The Falcons finally have six defensemen in uniform, which will allow junior Ben Wozney more freedom to roam. 

Another player to watch is Ryan O’Hara, who has carried the BGSU offensive load this season with nine goals and 16 points.

The injury to stalwart goalie Christian Stoever had Falcon fans fearing the worst, but extra-large rookie Cole Moore has met the challenge starting every game the past month, earning his first shutout last Friday and copping the CCHA Goaltender of the Week nod Monday. 

Eigner was asked how big his freshman was playing in goal.

“Well, he’s been 6-foot-6 big, if you want the literal answer,” Eigner said with a chuckle. “He’s growing and becoming more comfortable every week. Our expectation and our standard are high, and we need him to play as well as he did last weekend.”

Up in Bemidji, Serratore was miffed over his team’s reversal of fortunes following Saturday’s 6-1 loss to Lake State. 

“Winning isn’t fun, it’s hard,” said Serratore, whose club had enjoyed a 7-1 laugher the night before. 

Expect Serratore to be dourer now that star freshman Eric Pohlkamp has been loaned out to Team USA’s World Junior squad, and clutch leader Troy Jutting is sitting out on the injured list. 

The Beavers are counting on stars Lleyton Roed, Kyle Looft and the red-hot Carter Jones to carry them this weekend. The home club is vulnerable.

Prediction: Team of destiny Bowling Green leapfrogs Bemidji into fourth place with at least four points this weekend.

No. 7 Lake State Vs. No. 8 Ferris State

This game is a one-act play – four hours of travel for an evening game to close out the first half of the season for both clubs. 

Though Ferris has only managed eight points in league play this season, the Bulldogs have battled tenaciously, taking at least one game in every series to the wire. 

They have been impressive against traditional league powers Michigan Tech and Minnesota State. Their senior goalie Logan Stein is having a solid year, with his .926 save percentage a testimony.

A half-dozen shooters scored for Lake State last Saturday in the Lakers’ shocker up at Bemidji. 

As they wait for Jared Westcott to get on another hot streak, the Lakers have been getting goals by committee. 

Freshman Ross Roloson is a player to watch in the blue and gold, having picked up five points in his last five games, including a goal and a helper Saturday night.

The big question is which Ethan Langenegger will show up this Saturday – the goalie who shut down Bemidji on Saturday, or the one who was pulled on Friday. His inconsistency mirrors his team’s results, and it is no coincidence.

Prediction: Ferris State begins its climb out of the CCHA cellar with a win Saturday. In a one-game series, Logan Stein is a solid bet.

Augustana Vs. Alaska

Augustana is not an official member of the CCHA for another year and a half, but the Vikings have the best Pairwise ranking in the circuit at No. 26 nationally. 

Their opponent, independent Alaska, is a genuine NCAA Tournament contender for the second straight year with its No. 18 ranking. 

If Augustana has tourney dreams of its own, it needs to seize this opportunity in the shadow of the Arctic Circle. 

For the late-night crowd, this game will showcase a pair of independents, playing a series neither can afford to lose. 

For those willing to put in the late hours, keep a red eye open to see Nanooks sniper Harrison Israels, who is among the national leaders with 11 goals.

Prediction: Sweep for Alaska. The Nanooks are on a mission this year and can’t afford to be derailed by the weary travelers.