2022 Bowling Green vs Michigan Tech - Men's

CCHA Reason To Watch: Alaska Returns; BGSU, Tech Duke It Out

CCHA Reason To Watch: Alaska Returns; BGSU, Tech Duke It Out

This weekend in the CCHA: Tech and BGSU vie for a trophy, jostling for position in the Soo, and an old friend plays host to CCHA action.

Feb 10, 2022 by Tim Rappleye
CCHA Reason To Watch: Alaska Returns; BGSU, Tech Duke It Out

This weekend in the CCHA: Tech and BGSU vie for a trophy, jostling for position in the Soo, and an old friend plays host to CCHA action.

Bowling Green Vs. No. 14 Michigan Tech

The gleaming MacInnes Cup trophy will be awarded Saturday in Houghton, the culmination of Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival. Ty Eigner’s Falcons will be clawing for points in a playoff-charged atmosphere, skating in a hostile packed house against a squad destined for the NCAA tournament. 

“Biggest weekend of the year,” said Eigner, eager to halt a three-game losing skid and maintain its grip on fourth place in the CCHA standings. 

The only good news for BGSU is that Tech, undefeated in the new year, has been so busy playing three-games a week that it hasn’t been able to prepare for Bowling Green. On Tuesday, the Huskies were in Marquette, lighting up a depleted Northern squad 8-1. If the Falcons are to scrape any points from their red-hot hosts, it would be in Friday night’s opener. 

Tech’s standout goaltender Blake Pietila has been a workhorse this season, finally getting half a period off on Tuesday night. One wonders if and when fatigue will creep into his game. There has been no sign to date. Another major reason to watch is Tech senior Brian Halonen, the most underrated player in college hockey. He might jump to the top of the CCHA scoring lead at the conclusion of this weekend.

Prediction: The Tech juggernaut rolls on, sweeping BGSU. In a season of excellence, the Huskies will get their photo op with an important trophy Saturday night. 

Ferris State Vs. Lake Superior State

This is the battle of the underachiever (LSSU) and the overachiever (Ferris), with major playoff positioning at stake. The CCHA is top-heavy, with Tech and MNSU dominating the league—they are the teams the remaining six want to avoid in the first round of the league playoffs. With one point separating Ferris and LSSU from seventh place, that is exactly the fate these two clubs are fighting to avoid. If the season ended today, Ferris would face Tech and LSSU would face Bemidji. On paper, Ferris would have a much more difficult task. 

Viewers should see quality goaltending this weekend in the Soo. Lake State’s Seth Eisele was superb in his last performance at Northern, and Ferris coach Bob Daniels now has two goalies he can trust in the red and orange. Daniels claims to be vying for the coveted fourth spot in the CCHA standings, but that would require a sweep at Taffy Abel Arena just to get into the race, no easy task.

Prediction: A clean split; both teams tread water in the standings.

St. Thomas Vs. Alaska

Young guns versus the old hands; newcomers versus veterans; strangers taking on the familiar. The Alaska Nanooks, missing in action since March 2020, have returned as an independent, and are proving to be a royal pain to play against. St. Thomas is the new kid on the block, and were last seen giving Michigan Tech fits down in St. Paul. This makes for a compelling matchup. 

When we last saw the Nanooks on FloHockey, they had edged out Bowling Green for the final home spot in the league playoffs. They were a team whose roster was loaded with Latvians and other international players, and today is no different. A look at Alaska’s top six scorers reveals two North Americans, two Swedes, a Finn and a Russian. Six Latvians fill out their roster. These international men of mystery have beaten Minnesota, tied Duluth, taken Omaha to overtime, and spanked RPI three times in five days up in the Last Frontier. Tommies beware, this is like facing a KHL squad, playing just a boat ride from the Bering Straits.

Rico Blasi has taken college hockey’s answer to the Isle of Misfit Toys and turned them into a tenacious band of hustlers, plumbers and selfless shot-blockers. After a season of playing teams close for two periods before conceding, the Tommies turned the tables on nationally ranked Michigan Tech last week, outscoring the Huskies in the third period to claim a tie, sending tremors through the PairWise rankings. This is their first trip beyond the lower 48, and it will be a trying journey for Blasi and company.

Prediction: Nanooks will be on FloHockey for the first time in two years, and will shine in a sweep. This will be worth staying up for.